U.S. Sen. Murphy heading to the Balkans; Will visit Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy will travel to Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro beginning next week.

Murphy will meet with government officials and community representatives in each Eastern European country to discuss and strengthen their relationships with the United States.

Murphy, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs, will arrive in the region on Oct. 14.

Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro were all part of the former Yugoslavia. Albania was once one of the most isolated countries in the world. The countries are essentially located between Italy and Greece on or near the Mediterranean Sea.

In the 1990s, a war took place between ethnic and religious groups in parts of the former Yugoslavia.

There is a large Albanian community in the Naugatuck Valley, especially in Waterbury, and Murphy will meet with representatives of that community on Oct. 9 in Waterbury before his trip. He intends to bring specific feedback from the people of Connecticut to public officials in the Western Balkans, he said.

Integration into European Union

During the official travel, Murphy will hold meetings with government officials to reiterate the United States’ support for the Balkan region’s integration into the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

He will support the continued normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, the importance of transparency and rule of law for economic growth, and discuss how the United States can strengthen the region’s energy security and assist in the recovery from severe floods this past spring and summer.

Murphy will also meet with officials and non-governmental organizations to discuss opportunities for Connecticut businesses to export goods to the region. Specifically, Murphy will meet with defense ministers and the American Chamber of Commerce to discuss the potential for Connecticut businesses to export defense materials and other goods to the countries.