Late on Monday evening, July 9, after his address to the General Assembly of the Association of Northern Greece Industries in Thessaloniki, Alexis Tsipras will travel to London to participate in the Western Balkans Summit scheduled to take place in the British capital, on July 10, 2018.
As IBNA reported first, Alexis Tsipras will meet fYROMacedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in London and on the sidelines of the Western Balkans Meeting, in the wider framework of the “Berlin Process”.
Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras will discuss the post-Prespa Agreement developments and will co-ordinate their actions for the successful conclusion of the Agreement by sending a strong message to Greece and fYROMacedonia about the climate change in the relations of the two countries that can contribute to security and stability in the Balkan region.
Alexis Tsipras and Edi Rama will discuss the developments in the negotiations between the two countries to solve the outstanding issues that concern their states and the forthcoming trip by the Greek Prime Minister to Albania for the signing of the two countries’ Friendship and Cooperation Agreement. Regional and international developments as well as the Prespa Agreement and its meaning for the wider region will also top talks. Moreover, Albania’s European prospects and ways in which Greece can help towards this direction are to be debated, too.
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