|Publisher||General Secretariat of the Council|
A summit gathering the European Union (EU) member states and countries of the Western Balkans region was held on 6 May 2020 via video conference.
EU leaders reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans, and the EU's determination in strengthening its support to the region's political, economic and social transformation. Western Balkans leaders reaffirmed this perspective as their strategic choice, and their commitment in carrying out refoms towards European values and principles and the primacy of the rule of law.
The EU leaders also stressed the importance of good neighbourly relations, regional stability, and mutual cooperation. This includes implementing bilateral agreements in good faith and with tangible results. There was also a call for solutions to bilateral disputes and additional efforts to reconciliation.
Both sides pledged to work together in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented a face-to-face summit altogether on this occasion. This includes a package of EU support for the health sector and socioeconomic recovery in the Western Balkans, as well as Macro-Financial Assistance; co-operation and coordination in the form of joint procurement and unrestricted trade-flow of protective personal equipment (PPE), among other measures; addressing disinformation and other hybrid activities seeking to undermine the European perspective of the region.
The EU urged the Western Balkans leaders to fully exploit the potential of regional cooperation to facilitate the economic recovery, including the deepening of regional economic integration and building on EU rules and standards through a Regional Economic Area (REA). Following an exchange of views on closer cooperation to tackle the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, the European Commission was tasked with setting up an economic and investment plan for the region.
Summit participants discussed common security challenges, including closer cooperation on matters relating to migration, terrorism, corruption and other organise crime, as well as regional stability and security. They also addressed the need to prioritise energy security diversification. Finally EU leaders urged their Western Balkan partners to contribute to the EU missions and fully align with EU foreign policy position.
The EU leaders adopted the Zagreb Declaration, with which the Western Balkans partners decided to align themselves.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Subject Tags||Regional Dimension|
|Countries / Regions||Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia|
|International Organisations||European Union [EU]|