The British Prime Minister, Theresa May will host the Western Balkans Summit in London, on July 10, demonstrating UK’s longstanding commitment to the region and to European security.
May has invited the Heads of Government of the 6 Western Balkans nations: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, fYROMacedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
The 2018 summit will be the fifth to take place under the Berlin Process after Berlin (2014), Vienna (2015), Paris (2016) and Trieste (2017). The Berlin Process is a diplomatic initiative that Chancellor Merkel launched in 2014. Each year it brings together the 6 Western Balkans countries, like-minded EU partners and representatives of the EU institutions to work together to support security, stability and prosperity in the region.
Other countries the UK has invited to attend are EU partners including Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, whereas Bulgaria has been invited in light of the EU28 Western Balkans Summit in Sofia in May 2018. Although, geographically speaking, Poland does not belong to the Western Balkans, it has been invited because they will host the Western Balkans Summit in 2019.
As the official UK government website reads, leaders will focus on 3 important aims:
- increasing economic stability with a view to improving the business environment, encouraging entrepreneurship, addressing youth unemployment, and promoting regional inter-connectivity
- strengthening regional security co-operation to help tackle common threats, including corruption, serious and organised crime, trafficking of people, drugs and firearms, terrorism and violent extremism
- facilitating political co-operation – to help the region resolve bilateral disputes and overcome legacy issues stemming from the conflicts of the 1990s and strengthen democracy and gender equality
Despite UK leaving the bloc, the British government insists on working towards the development of a strong, stable and prosperous Western Balkans region “beyond our exit from the EU.”…. / IBNA