European People’s Party Congress in Zagreb to discuss Western Balkans

European People's Party logo; Photo: Flickr / EPP

ZAGREB – Congress of the European People’s Party, Europe’s largest party family, will be held in the Capital of Croatia this week, with one of the debates being focused on the Western Balkans and the EU.

European Western Balkans will be reporting from the event, which will gather representatives of the biggest centre-right parties from the continent on 20 and 21 November.

Panel debate titled “Western Balkans and EU: Common Challenges and Shared Responsibilities” will take place on Wednesday afternoon.

Croatia will hold its first Presidency over the Council of the European Union from January to June 2020, and is set to organise EU-Western Balkans Summit next May.

EPP Congress will elect the new members of party’s Presidency, with the only candidate for the new President being the outgoing President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

Among the candidates for the Vice-Presidents, there are several people that have been responsible for the Western Balkans recently, including the former European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia David McAllister, current Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina Paulo Rangel and the outgoing Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Johannes Hahn.

Several parties from the Western Balkans are associate members of EPP, including the Serbian Progressive Party, Democratic Party of Albania, VMRO-DPMNE of North Macedonia, Democratic League of Kosovo, as well as leading Bosniak and Croat parties of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić declined the invitation to speak at the Congress because of, as he said, strong backlash to his potential visit by the Croatian media.