From: Exit News
EU-WB Zagreb Summit Focuses on Coronavirus, Enlargement Not on the Table

On May 6, leaders of the EU, Member States, and Western Balkans countries held a video conference in lieu of what was going to be the Zagreb summit, cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The declaration adopted by the summit focused primarily on cooperation with regards to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic recovery that must follow, though it also touched upon good neighborly relations among Western Balkans countries and security and migration issues.

The EU has mobilized a package of over €3.3 billion to support Western Balkans countries’ health sectors and to aid their social and economic recovery. The cooperation between Western Balkans countries and the EU also includes joint procurement and unrestricted trade flow of PPEs. The EU also supplies testing material that facilitates coronavirus testing in the Western Balkans.

The partners also intend to cooperate in addressing disinformation and strengthening cyber-security, especially in the face of attempts by third-state actors to undermine the region’s European perspective.

To facilitate a speedy economic recovery following the pandemic, the EU urged Western Balkans countries to increase regional economic integration and bring them closer to the EU Internal Market via the Regional Economic Area (REA).

EU leaders also urged regional cooperation in the form of the implementation of the Prespa Agreement with Greece and the Treaty on Good Neighbourly Relations with Bulgaria. The declaration welcomed the appointment of the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak.

Partners called for further cooperation to stem illegal migration and the prevention of terrorism ad extremism. The necessity of fighting organized crime and corruption in the region was further highlighted. 

As the Council of the EU announced previously, the summit did not touch on the subject of EU enlargement.