EU – Western Balkans informal meeting: The new enthusiasm for the WB

EU - Western Balkans informal meeting; Foto: European Union

BRUSSELS – European Council president Charles Michel met with leaders of the Western Balkans for frank talks ahead of a key summit in Zagreb in May, Euractiv reported.

“With Andrej Plenković, Ursula Von der Leyen, Joseph Borell and six Western Balkans leaders we are thoroughly preparing the Zagreb summit in May,“ Michel wrote on his Twitter account.

He said that the European perspective for WB countries is very important, and it means that the EU will try to have a strategic discussion about the important goals.

Following the dinner, President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen said that methodology in its revised form should create and regain trust in all sides in the European integration process.

„On the other hand, it’s creating a credible perspective for the Western Balkans to join, over time, the EU. We want also to pave the way for Albania and North Macedonia to start the accession talks with EU if possible for before the Zagreb summit,“ she said.

Referring to the EU’s decision to send a special envoy to the Belgrade- Pristina dialogue on the normalization of relations, Hashim Thaçi said that whoever that may be, Kosovo must be treated as a sovereign state. He added that the EU’s role in the dialogue was important, but the US involvement was irreplaceable.

According to Euractiv, Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama, attending the Brussels meeting, declared himself as very interested to see and discuss the new methodology, see if it can come out as a platform of common understanding with the member states.

“We landed with some difficulties, so it’s a kind of signal that the landing for us will not be easy,” Rama said.

Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović said that the Western Balkans should overcome all challenges from its past to forward to the EU.

“Montenegro is ready to solve problems with other countries in the best European spirit and heritage,” Đukanović said, adding that regarding the enlargement, the EU should prove its vital interest besides the declarative one.

Following the dinner, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić said that the Union would soon send its teams to discuss those ideas and initiatives and that an investment package for the region would soon be ready. He denied any disagreement during the talks.

“We did not come here to argue, we are here to fight for ourselves individually and for the whole region,” Vučić concluded.