March 26, 2019

European Union leaders proclaim support for Balkans, but are tired over membership

18 May 2018, 04:44 | Devin Moran

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European Union to meet Balkan leaders to boost ties

During this important event for the region, Rama was received by the host of the event, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borissov.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has in the past said that the European Union needs to accept Western Balkan states in order the avoid a war in the region, PAP reported.

In a declaration, EU leaders and member states agreed that the bloc welcomes the shared commitment of the Western Balkans partners to European values and principles, and to the vision of a strong, stable and united Europe.

Tusk said Macron: No alternatives.

European Union leaders sat down with their counterparts from six - Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo - at the summit, agreeing to work together toward accession into the EU.

"I am not in favour of moving towards enlargement before we have all the required certainties and before genuine reform has been made", Macron told reporters as he arrived for the summit.

"The role of the EU is absolutely essential", he said, "And so my appeal here in Brussels is for the the European Union to be more and more united, more and more effective, more and more present and for its voice to be more and more heard in worldwide relations".

Tusk said that while there were low expectations regarding Iran, there were high expectations regarding Washington.

In the summit declaration, a draft of which was obtained by AFP, the Europeans outlined the theme of "connectivity" with investments in transport and infrastructure.

However, Merkel added: "As for compensating all businesses in a comprehensive way for such measures by the United States of America, I think we can not and must not create illusions". Officials from the two countries have been locked in talks over the issue.

"The summit may be a symbolic act, but it can again trigger a little more dynamism", he said.

The European Union (EU) on Thursday in a special declaration adopted at the EU-Western Balkans summit reaffirmed its unequivocal support for the European aspirations of the Western Balkans. "We don't want that to happen".

"Given history of the region, given the existing pressures, these [Western Balkan] countries could turn to Russian Federation or to Turkey and this would be a wrong solution both for the region and for Europe".

Spain's prime minister is staying away because his country, roiled by the Catalan independence drive, does not recognise Kosovo's 2008 split from Serbia.

Representatives from Greece and Macedonia met on the fringes of the Sofia summit in an attempt to finally come to an agreement.

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