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Thursday, December 7, 2023

European Union leaders to carry a summit with Western Balkans nations to debate becoming a member of the bloc

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TIRANA, Albania — Leaders from the European Union and the Western Balkans will maintain a summit in Albania’s capital on Monday to debate the trail to membership within the bloc for the six international locations of the area.

The primary matters on the annual talks — known as the Berlin Course of — are integrating the Western Balkans right into a single market and supporting their inexperienced and digital transformation. The nations within the area are Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

The senior EU officers attending the summit in Tirana are European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel. They are going to be joined by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The six Western Balkan international locations are at totally different levels of integration into the bloc. Serbia and Montenegro had been the primary Western Balkan international locations to launch membership negotiations a couple of years in the past, adopted by Albania and Macedonia final 12 months, whereas Bosnia and Kosovo have solely begun step one of the combination course of.

Russia’s conflict in Ukraine has put integration of the Western Balkans into the EU on the prime of the 27-nation bloc’s agenda. The EU is making an attempt to reinvigorate the entire enlargement course of, which has been stalled since 2013, when the final nation to turn into a member was Croatia.

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The EU had made it a requirement for Western Balkans to reform their economies and political establishments earlier than becoming a member of the bloc.

Von der Leyen talked about a brand new progress plan for the Western Balkan international locations that she is going to make public on the summit: opening new commerce routes in seven particular areas of the EU’s frequent marketplace for the Balkan international locations, which have to implement fast reforms that in flip can be accompanied by funding.

Von der Leyen, talking at a information convention on Sunday after assembly with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, gave no additional particulars.

A bitter dispute between Serbia and Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, stays an incredible concern for the EU earlier than the summit. A latest shootout between masked Serb gunmen and Kosovo police that left 4 individuals {dead} and despatched tensions hovering within the area appears to have suspended the EU-facilitated dialogue to normalize their ties.

EU officers have known as on the Balkan international locations to beat regional conflicts and stand collectively as Russia wages conflict in Ukraine.

The summit, which is being held for the primary time in a non-EU member nation, takes place at a pharaonic landmark, generally known as the Pyramid. It was inbuilt 1988 as a posthumous museum for Albania’s communist-era strongman, Enver Hoxha.


Comply with Llazar Semini at https://twitter.com/lsemini

Discover extra of AP’s Europe protection at https://apnews.com/hub/europe

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