Sofia Declaration: The Future of the Western Balkans is European

The European Union may soon open its doors to six western Balkan nations

The European Union may soon open its doors to six western Balkan nations

"We fully support key principles of cooperation, good neighbourly relations and the need for sustainable and binding solution of mutual disagreements", said Thaci. Before the meeting, some of the euro-leaders made first comments. "But before the necessary reforms are completed, we should not be in a hurry with enlargement".

He said this on Thursday, may 17, at the summit of the Western Balkans and the European Union, held in Sofia, Bulgaria and carried out with the aim to strengthen ties between the region and Brussels, reports Politico.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is welcomed by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in Sofia. "I am not a big optimist", Vucic concluded.

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Tusk later clarified that he had no intention of suggesting that the accession of Albania and FYROM/Macedonia is unrealistic by the target date of 2025, but that things should not be "fast-tracked" in the region for the sole objective of completing the process within the suggested timeframe. Instead, the highlights pointed in the direction of security, digital economy and investment.

Balkan stability is also stability for the EU, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said at a press conference today at the National Palace of Culture.

"It is the way to use more effectively the time between now and tomorrow".

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"At the same time, refugees and migrants, including children and other vulnerable groups, are dealing with serious risks in the western Balkans and the European Union, including violence, repeated rejections and collective expulsions". "There is no alternative", he said. The declaration says, in part: "the EU reaffirms its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans".

A four-page annex, called the "Sofia Priority Agenda", sets the foundation for the creation of instruments for the support of the rule of law and good governance, including case-based peer-reviewed missions and backing for media pluralism.

At the EU-West Balkans Summit, state leaders will hold talks on common interest themes like connectivity, security and migration. These include the "Peace highway" between Nis in Serbia and Pristina in Kosovo and the Blue Highway along the Adriatic coast.

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European Union leaders are meeting their counterparts from six Balkan countries in Sofia, a day after a dinner that sought to forge a united front in the face of US President Donald Trump's "capricious assertiveness" on the Iran nuclear deal and trade tariffs. Tusk, however, responded curtly to Borissov by reminding him that "their problems, per capita, exceed those of Germany and France put together", and later went on to suggest to Borissov that European Union members need to be "consistent and optimistic, but also cautious" when it comes to the question of enlargement.

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