Delegation of the European Union to Albania

Josep Borrell at the EU-Western Balkans Summit: It is time we come together and unite in building a stronger Europe

06/10/2021 - 19:16
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At the EU – Western Balkans Summit the EU reiterated its unequivocal support to the European perspective of the region and welcomed the commitment of the Western Balkans partners to the European perspective. This is in the EU – Western Balkans mutual strategic interest and remains a shared strategic choice. At the Summit, the EU reconfirmed its commitment to the enlargement process.

HRVP Borrell and Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev in the margins of the Summit

EU Heads of State or Government and Leaders of the six Western Balkans partners gathered in Brdo, Slovenia on 6 October 2021 for the EU-Western Balkans Summit.

EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell, participating at the Summit, said: “We have to maintain a credible enlargement process. The EU is not complete without the Western Balkans. It is time we come together and unite in building a stronger Europe. Today’s EU-Western Balkans Summit gives this clear perspective.

The Brdo Declaration, published following the Summit, states the EU’s commitment to the enlargement process based upon credible reforms by partners, fair and rigorous conditionality and the principle of own merits.  The EU is determined to intensify the joint engagement with the Western Balkans, taking forward the region’s political, economic and social transformation.

Economic and Investment Plan and Green Agenda for the Western Balkans

The EU is the main political, economic and trade partner of the region, and the citizens of the EU and Western Balkans are connected through intensive economic activities. The Declaration sets out initiatives to support connectivity and the green and digital transition of the region.

Through the Economic and Investment Plan, the EU is now providing unprecedented financial support mobilising some €30 billion for the region over the next seven years. The EU will provide €9 billion worth of grant funding. The aim of the Plan is to spur long-term economic recovery, accelerate a green and digital transition, support regional cooperation and foster convergence with the EU.

Political and Security Cooperation

Joining forces is the most effective way of addressing common global and geopolitical challenges. In the Summit Declaration, the EU expresses its expectation for partners to further deepen cooperation in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and make tangible and sustainable progress towards full alignment with EU foreign policy positions.

The European Union and the Western Balkans agree to advance their cooperation on core security issues including addressing disinformation and other hybrid threats and enhancing resilience-building, cyber security, cyber diplomacy and strategic communication.

Citizens of the Western Balkans and the EU contributing to the Future of Europe

The Brdo Declaration states that the EU and the Western Balkans need to work together to face generation-defining tasks. The EU welcomed the initiatives of the Western Balkans to contribute to the reflections on the future of our continent.

This is a recognition of the effort by civil society organisations in the Western Balkans to engage in a series of debate throughout 2021 discussing what the region can do for the future of the European Union. Those contributions were submitted across the region in debates which took place in several cities including Prespa, Skopje, Sarajevo, Pristina and Belgrade.