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Czech foreign minister proposes regular meetings between V4 and West Balkan countries

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Tirana, March 31 (CTK special correspondent) – The Visegrad Four (V4) group, i.e. the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, proposes staging top-level meetings of the EU and Western Balkans to discuss migration, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told reporters during a visit to Albania yesterday.
Zaoralek attended a meeting of foreign ministers from Western Balkans countries and Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner for enlargement, in Albania earlier yesterday.
Zaoralek spoke on behalf of the V4, as the Czech Republic holds its year-long rotating presidency until mid-2016.
“I proposed that high-level meetings and talks on migration be prepared between the EU and the Western Balkans,” Zaoralek said at a joint press conference with his Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati in Tirana.
He said the V4 wants the EU to tackle the problem of migration also together with the countries from where migrants come and which they cross on their way farther to Europe.
In the past year, hundreds of thousands of refugees have come to Europe via Turkey. In the past weeks, the EU signed an agreement with Ankara on the readmission of refugees by Turkey.
The deal is to close the Balkans route to illegal migration. Europe, however, fears that the migrants might start using new routes, including across Albania.
Albanian diplomats say the Albanian approach to refugees differs from the apprehensions that are widespread elsewhere in Europe. This is due to the experience the Albanians have with the war refugees from Kosovo, of whom several hundreds of thousands came to Albania in 1999.
The Albanians sensitively assess the fact that the current refugees are fleeing a war in their homeland where they cannot stay any longer, according to local diplomats.

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