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Minister Vigenin participates in "Toward a Europe Whole and Free" Conference, dedicated to the anniversaries of NATO and EU enlargement

30 April 2014 News

Minister Kristian Vigenin participated in the Atlantic Council conference “Toward a Europe Whole and Free,” held in Washington, DC. The forum celebrates the anniversaries of the modern history of Europe, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the expansion of NATO and EU, discusses the current challenges faced by the countries which remained in the periphery of democratic transformation in Europe, and the approach to Russia in the context of the strategic goal of building an united and free Europe.

European foreign and defense ministers, leading U.S. analysts, strategists and lawmakers debated on topics such as the crisis in Ukraine and the challenges to continuing the process of Euro- Atlantic integration.

Minister Vigenin participated in a panel discussion together with the foreign ministers of Albania, the Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro, dedicated to the processes in Southeast Europe, the progress made, the assessment of its stability and the further steps for political consolidation of this part of Europe.

The panelists agreed on the need to continue the expansion of NATO and the EU as the main means to achieve stability and security in the Western Balkans. Minister Vigenin noted that the region is at a crucial political moment. The events in Ukraine require strengthening the focus of the EU and NATO on the Western Balkan countries and sending them a strong signal of support in meeting the criteria for NATO membership, taking into account the progress made.

The Minister emphasized that the accession of Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia to NATO will consolidate the efforts to achieve a greater stability in Southeastern Europe. Vigenin underlined some very useful formats for cooperation in the region in both multilateral and bilateral terms, emphasizing the importance of the Cooperation Process in Southeastern Europe.

Minister Vigenin also pointed out the importance of demonstrating unity and solidarity among European allies regarding the impact of the crisis in Ukraine onthe security in Europe.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made​​a statement at the forum, saying that the events in Ukraine serve as a "wake up call" for NATO and called for "accelerating the work on a stronger and more prosperous trans -Atlantic community."

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