EU Western Balkans Video Summit begins: Vucic talks with Michel, Hahn, McAllister
Video conference of the European Union - Western Balkans is taking place today, with the participation of Serbian President Aleksandar VucicSource: Tanjug
The virtual summit, organized by the EU Presidency of Croatia and chaired by European Council President Charles Michel, will be held from 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm.
As previously reported from Zagreb, along with officials from 27 EU member states, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, BiH Presidency Chairman, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, Macedonian Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski and President of Interim Pristina Institutions Hashim Thaci confirmed their participation in the meeting.
The rules were set according to which the participants of the video conference will sit in front of a neutral background, there will be no national signs, flags, coats of arms on the screen behind them, not even the names of the states, only the name and surname of the person speaking.
Referring to diplomatic sources, HINA writes that the rule was introduced at the request of Spain, which does not want to attend meetings at which Kosovo* is mentioned as a state.
The video conference will also be attended by High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Josep Borrell, President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Regional Cooperation Council.
After the meeting, a joint press conference is scheduled for Michel, Commission President Ursula von der Layen and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.
The participants will accept the Zagreb Declaration, which will confirm the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries.
"The European Union reaffirms its unequivocal support for the Western Balkans' European perspective. The Western Balkan partners reiterated their commitment to the European perspective as their firm strategic choice," the Zagreb agency said.
More specifically, there is nothing in the text about enlargement, and several EU officials told the conference that enlargement was not a topic but an EU assistance package.
Some countries, by the way, are rather skeptical of further enlargement, such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, France and, to a certain extent, Germany, HINA said.
Vucic spoke with Charles Michel
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic talked ahead of afternoon EU-Western Balkans videoconference, with European Council President Charles Michel.
The interlocutors agreed that, in the context of a coronavirus pandemic, the EU and the Western Balkan countries were directed at each other.
Vucic thanked for the significant EU assistance to Serbian residents, while Michel emphasized the solidarity Serbia showed by providing assistance to Italian residents and assisting in the Western Balkans region.
A European official said that the European Union is committed to the European perspective of the Western Balkans and further strengthening and intensifying its support for political, economic and social reforms in the region.
The European Union has allocated € 3.3 billion to help the region, given the consequences of COVID-19 on the Western Balkan economies, the President of the European Council said.
The two interlocutors also discussed the next steps on Serbia's European path.
President Vucic said that Serbia is continuing the reform process with the aim of joining the European Union.
President Vucic and President Michel also discussed the regional situation, emphasizing Serbia's commitment to peace and co-operation policy in the Western Balkans.