High-level EU participation at the Western Balkans Summit in Paris, focusing on connectivity and youth

BRUSSELS – On Monday, 4 July, four Members of the College will participate in the Western Balkans Summit and a number of side events. The High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, will attend the Summit event hosted by French President François Hollande, addressing the Heads of State and Government on behalf of the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

 

The Summit will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss developments that have a regional importance such as migration, security issues including the fight against extremism, jobs and economic growth. Youth and connectivity are two other key focus areas of the Summit and associated side events, with leaders expected to sign an Agreement on the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans as well as confirming a new set of reforms, including the establishment of a regional market for electricity, and endorsing a new package of investment projects covering railway infrastructure, renewables and energy efficiency.

The European Union has pledged up to €1 billion in co-financing of investment projects until 2020, and has so far delivered one-third of this. In parallel to the Summit, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn,will join Foreign Ministers to take stock of the Enlargement process and to discuss the connectivity and youth agenda, economic development and common challenges such as radicalisation, the fight against terrorism, and migration. Commissioner Hahn will also participate at the Business Forum, which takes place in the morning. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc will address Economy Ministers to highlight some of the priority actions and reforms to be undertaken in the transport sector in order to better connect the region to the EU. Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics will also participate in a side event in Paris, at the Western Balkan Youth Conference, where he will give a keynote speech focussing on formal and non-formal education skills, Erasmus+ and the anti-radicalisation of youth in Europe.