In order to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and to mitigate its effects, the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has decided to postpone until 15 May all Croatian Presidency related informal meetings scheduled to take place in Croatia.
“Regarding the EU-Western Balkans summit (Zagreb Summit), scheduled to take place in Zagreb on 7 May, a new date will be sought in June in agreement with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel if the COVID-19 situation permits. Alternatively, a video conference will be organised by the end of the Croatian Presidency”, said the Croatian Presidency in a press statement.
The Western Balkans-EU Summit is considered to be the crown of the Croatian Presidency and the state has put a lot of energy to make all preparations for the success of the event. In fact, the Summit aimed at gathering the leaders of the EU and the WB region for the first time since Sofia Summit in May 2018.
The final intention was that the Zagreb Summit would be the first such meeting in a series of WB-EU meetings on a regular basis.
Another goal of Croatian Presidency over the Council, the green light to the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania before the Summit, has been achieved.
The Summit, or the video conference, will take place in the light of Italy’s and Spain’s dissatisfaction with the lack of EU help during the key period of coronavirus crisis in these countries. The success of any such meeting will be also defined by the results of the ongoing tough negotiations of ministers of finances of EU member countries. The main point of dispute is the issue of a “euro-bond” which should help countries in the post-crisis period to re-establish a normal flow to their economies.
The Croatian Presidency will be concluded at the end of June, with Germany taking up the mantle in July./ibna