From: Exit News
Enlargement Excluded from the EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit Agenda

The EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit of May 6 will not discuss the EU enlargement, the Council of the EU announced.

The General Affairs Council, comprising of foreign ministers of members states, is expected to adopt conclusions on enlargement in June. This is expected to include the European Council members’ endorsement for the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia in March.

On March 26, Albania was presented with a list of conditions before the actual EU accession negotiations start, while North Macedonia was given full green light.

The EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit of May 6 will focus on reaffirming the European perspective of the region and its commitment for reforms leading to EU integration.

The summit will be held through videoconference due to the coronavirus pandemic, which will also be one of the topics on the agenda of the EU and WB leaders.

The fight against corruption and organised crime, including efforts to fight human trafficking, drug cultivation and the smuggling of human beings, drugs and arms will receive particular emphasis during the summit.

It will be chaired by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. President of the EC Ursula von der Leyen will also represent the EU, together with the President of the EP David Sassoli and the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.

Besides the EU heads of state or governments, leaders of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Monenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo will attend. Albania will be represented by Prime Minister Edi Rama and Kosovo by President Hashim Thaçi.

The European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank, and the Regional Cooperation Council will also participate.

The EU has pledged €3.3 billion for the region in the form of supplies for the health sector, support for the social and economic recovery, and financial assistance.

The summit is expected to acknowledge the countries’ cooperation in the Western Balkans during the crisis, and discuss the EU long-term support in the form of an Economic and Investment Plan for the region. The EU leaders will note that the current crisis should not deflect attention from key reforms.

Leaders of WB countries will be expected to confirm their commitment to uphold European values and principles, the rule of law, the functioning of democratic institutions and public administration, despite the introduction of special and extraordinary measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Other topics to be discussed will include disinformation and hybrid activities from other countries seeking to undermine the European perspective of the region, resilience-building, cyber security, strategic communication, common security challenges like countering terrorism, radicalization and the return of foreign fighters.