Babiš: European Union should give Balkan countries their European Union accession date

  • Babiš: European Union should give Balkan countries their European Union accession date

Babiš: European Union should give Balkan countries their European Union accession date

European Union leaders and their counterparts from the six Western Balkan countries commenced talks in Sofia, Bulgaria on Thursday to discuss how to strengthen ties between the region and the bloc. He pointed out that this region is European and noted that the policy for the Western Balkans is very important for the EU.

"When it comes to troubles per capita the Western Balkans are much bigger than, for example, Germany and France together", Tusk said.

"This includes in particular finding and implementing definitive, inclusive and binding solutions for their bilateral disputes rooted in the legacy of the past and devoting additional efforts to reconciliation", the declaration stated, among other things.

While the European Union side reaffirmed its determination "to strengthen and intensify its engagement at all levels to support the region's political, economic and social transformation" in the Sofia Summit Declaration, the focus lay elsewhere.

"If we do not embrace... the Western Balkans and do not help them - yes, many of them are not ready and they have yet to catch up - then there is no reason to be angry that the influence of the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia will be greater than that of Europe", Borissov added.

The declaration also mentioned a number of security challenges that require coordinated and collective action, as required by the fight against terrorism.

It "reaffirms EU's unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans", and states tasks and principles the sides should meet during the process of EU integration.

The declaration was adopted by the leaders of the European Union and of its member states, in consultation with their Western Balkans partners, and in the presence of relevant regional stakeholders, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union said on its website.

The summit began with a plenary session on connectivity, followed by a working lunch. The British Prime Minister has stated that, despite Brexit, London's engagement with the Western Balkan countries will remain and will continue to build on what has been achieved. Serbia also signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Investment Bank, as well as issued a joint statement on the construction of the Bulgaria-Serbia gas interconnector. Investing in infrastructural and human connections with and within the Western Balkans is in the EU's best interest.

"I believe that it took us too long since our last meeting in Thessaloniki 15 years ago, and this is why we made a decision to meet again in two years in Croatia".

The participants noted that the social partners and other civil society organizations, both at European Union and national level, must be meaningfully involved in the entire process of integrating the Western Balkan countries into the EU.

"We reaffirmed our mutual commitment to the European perspective for the whole region".

"I have no doubts that we will also witness in the future many problems".

Afterwards, PM Rama has also met with the president of the European Commission, Donald Tusk, the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic, the Greek PM, Alexis Tsipras and also with EU senior officials such as the president of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker and the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Taiani. "They should continue to have this freedom", he said.