Vucic travels to Sofia; "We can't stab Bulgaria in back"

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will participate in the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia on Thursday, May 17.

Source: Tanjug
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(EPA-EFE, file)
(EPA-EFE, file)

Vucic traveled to the Bulgarian capital on Wednesday, where he is having a series of bilateral meetings ahead of the main event.

Until a couple of days ago - due to the presence of Kosovo at the summit and announcements that some EU members that do not recognize Kosovo might miss the summit - it was not quite clear whether Serbia would participate, i.e., be represented by Vucic in this gathering important for the Western Balkans, Tanjug is reporting today.

Vucic said several days ago that he would participate "if everything is fine - bearing in mind that a new declaration comes out every day."

He then had a telephone conversation with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and later confirmed his participation, saying he would contribute to the stabilization of the situation in the Western Balkans, and that "Serbia will continue to contribute to the European agenda for regional integration."

As he said, "there are smaller meetings that don't have to be attended" and where "formalities can be insisted on" - but this "cannot happen when the most powerful European leaders are coming, on whom our economy and political future depends."

"To say - we can't (participate)? Spain can afford it because it's in the club, Serbia is not in the club. Serbia has to work on its development," Vucic said, adding that the meeting in Sofia is organized by Bulgaria's PM and president, that "all European countries will come," and that "we cannot stab Bulgaria in the back and say we say are not interested in this, even though they supported us in every place and in different ways."

Speaking in Dusseldorf, Germany on Tuesday, Vucic said that expected "some good news" from the summit in Sofia.

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether all EU countries will participate in the summit, but according to media reports Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will not - although he will be in Sofia on Wednesday, for an informal meeting of the European Council.

The Spanish prime minister has categorically refused to sit at the same table with Kosovo President Hashim Thaci or any representative of the self-proclaimed "state of Kosovo," be photograph with them, or talk to them.

Bulgaria will organizes the gathering in the so-called Gymnich format, meaning that all participants will attend without displaying the names or symbols of their countries or regions, while a draft declaration from the summit which Tanjug saw "currently does not mention any of the states of the Western Balkans."

The draft only "confirms unambiguous support to the European perspective of the Western Balkans," stating that "partners from the Western Balkans commit themselves to follow the European path as their strategic choice."

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