High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said that the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia on May 17 would be an important event, which would show that European bloc and European Union’s partners in the region share the same goals.
“First and foremost, it will be a political sign that the EU and its Western Balkan partners share not only the same geographical space, but the same political goals and destiny as well”, Mogherini told a press conference in Sofia, after an informal meeting of the EU Member States’ ministers of defense.
Furthermore, Mogherini underlined that the meeting in Sofia would not be an enlargement summit, but the fact that the entire region belongs in Europe and has European prospect would be one of the meeting’s underlying elements.
According to Mogherini, credible work with the region is in the interest of Western Balkan countries, and all the EU Member States as well. “Credible European prospect for the entire region is a central part of our own interest”, she concluded.
Meanwhile, Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council in 2018 Lilyana Pavlova said in Brussels that the EU Member States have agreed on the text of the declaration to be adopted at the May 17 EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia.
“The unity of the 28 (Member States) is very important in this process. I believe that in the end unity will prevail (…) in spite of the differences that we have, for example the recognition of Kosovo”, said Pavlova. She underlined that the purpose of the meeting was to confirm the political will for the irreversibility of the enlargement process.
The declaration, according to media reports, is expected to affirm the European prospects of the Western Balkan countries. Participants are expected to adopt statements related to connectivity, security and the fight against organized crime, and in favor of the rule of law.
“The enlargement process represents a strategic investment in the peace, democracy, prosperity, security and stability in Europe. Bulgaria recognizes the high added value of being a part of the EU”, said Pavlova. “I am glad that the Bulgarian Presidency has achieved one of our primary aims and that the European perspective for the Western Balkans is now high in the EU agenda, because the Western Balkans is a region with high potential, economies in the region are growing fast, and deepening relations between the EU and the countries in the region is of mutual interest”, she concluded.