Initially foreseen to happen in Zagreb, the EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit will take place on 6 May 2020 via video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are the summit’s objectives?
The EU is the most important partner of the Western Balkans region and the video conference will underline the significance of the unique EU-Western Balkans relations.
In the fight against COVID-19, the European Union and the Western Balkans are united. The summit will provide an opportunity to highlight mutual solidarity and cooperation in these time of crisis. Partners in the region have contributed to help EU member states while the European Union has mobilised over €3.3 billion to help Western Balkans deal with the coronavirus crisis.
The leaders will also reaffirm the European perspective of the Western Balkans and the commitment of the Western Balkans partners to uphold European values and principles
During the first informal meeting with the Western Balkan partners in Brussels on 16 February 2020, President Michel stressed the EU’s commitment in the region.
The leaders will exchange views on the new phase of close cooperation to tackle the significant socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the importance of regional cooperation, as well as how to best manage security challenges.
Who will attend the summit?
The EU-Western Balkans summit will bring together, heads of state or government from EU member states and leaders from the six Western Balkans partners: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia and Kosovo.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, will chair the meeting. He will represent the EU together with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Andrej Plenković, Prime Minister of Croatia, which currently holds the presidency of the Council, Josep Borrell, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, David Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament, representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank, the European investment Bank and the Regional Cooperation Council will also participate.
After the summit a press conference will take place, with Presidents Michel, von der Leyen and Croatian Prime Minister Plenković.
The previous EU-Western Balkans summit took place on 17 May 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria. It brought together the heads of state or government from EU member states and leaders from the six Western Balkans partners. EU leaders agreed on the Sofia declaration, with which the Western Balkans partners have aligned themselves. They also adopted the Sofia priority agenda, as an annex to the declaration and outlined new measures for enhanced cooperation with the region./ibna