Summary: 19 November 2007, Brussels – Council of the European Union, 2831st External Relations Council meeting, conclusions on Western Balkans
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
The Council welcomed the fact that elections in Kosovo took place in an orderly and peaceful manner and that the Council of Europe Election Observation mission, in its preliminary statement, has assessed that the elections were conducted generally in line with international and European standards for democratic elections. The Council expressed its disappointment of the low overall voter turnout. It regretted the low participation by the Kosovo Serb community and Belgrade's call for a boycott and stressed the importance of the inclusion of all communities in political life in Kosovo. The Council looked forward to an early formation of a new Government to strengthen the reform agenda to the benefit of all communities in Kosovo.
The Council was briefed by Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, the EU representative in the Troika facilitating negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina on the future status of Kosovo, on the state of play of the process.
Reaffirming its full support to the Troika and to Ambassador Ischinger, and in view of the imminent conclusion of the Troika process on 10 December, the Council looked forward to the intensification of the negotiations and urged the two parties to show greater flexibility, to respond positively and constructively to the Troika's initiatives, making every effort to secure a negotiated settlement of the status of Kosovo. The Council reiterated the necessity of rapidly finding a solution to the Kosovo status issue.
The Council confirmed that the EU stands ready to play a significant role in Kosovo in the future and is preparing accordingly.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
The Council welcomed the Statement of the PIC meeting on 30 and 31 October 2007. The Council expressed grave concern over the deteriorating political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It underlined the responsibility of the political leaders of the country to stop undermining the foundations of the State, to ensure the full functioning of State institutions and to advance reforms which are essential for Bosnia and Herzegovina to move forward. The Council reiterated its full support for HR/EUSR Miroslav Lajcak and underlined the need for all parties, including those in the Republika Srpska, to fully respect and promptly implement his decisions.
The Council welcomed the Mostar Declaration of 28 October 2007 which can serve as the starting point for a positive re-engagement of the government coalition parties, and urged the signatories to take the necessary follow-up action.
Recalling its conclusions of 15 October 2007, the Council reiterated that police reform remains the key priority and one of the four necessary conditions for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement."