The EU-Western Balkans Zagreb summit took place via video conference on 6 May 2020. EU leaders agreed on the Zagreb declaration, with which the Western Balkans partners have aligned themselves.
The EU is the most important partner of the Western Balkans region and the video conference underline the significance of the unique EU-Western Balkans relations.
In the fight against COVID-19, the European Union and the Western Balkans are united. The summit provided an opportunity to highlight mutual solidarity and cooperation in these time of crisis. Partners in the region have contributed to help EU member states while the European Union has mobilised over €3.3 billion to help Western Balkans deal with the coronavirus crisis.
The main topics of the meeting were the European perspective of the region, support and cooperation in the COVID-19 crisis, as well as reiterating commitment to EU values and reforms.
As it is stated in the adopted Declaration, which confirms unequivocal support to the European perspective of the region, the leaders of the European Union (EU) and its Member States, in consultation with Western Balkans leaders, and in the presence of regional and international stakeholders, reiterated strong solidarity with our partners in the context of the coronavirus crisis.
“We have reaffirmed and reconfirmed the position of the European perspective for the Western Balkans. It is important to continue the reforms, the rule of law, the democratic values, the fight against corruption – they are essential”, said the President of the European Council Charles Michel in his opening statement.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen stressed that the Western Balkans belong in the EU and that there is no question about it.
“Once we put behind us this immediate phase of the pandemic, EU will present the investment plan later this year – it will focus on necessary transport and energy infrastructure, but also Green new deal and digitalisation”, stated President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen during the press conference.
During the press conference, Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković highlighted the successes of his country’s Presidency.
“We have managed, thanks to our joint efforts, to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. In our view, these decisions were long overdue. We have also managed to adopt a new methodology which will not only help Serbia and Montenegro, which are already negotiating, but also North Macedonia and Albania”, Plenković said.
He added that Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Croatia’s view, deserves the status of the candidate country.
The Summit was attended by WB6 leaders, Aleksandar Vučić, Edi Rama, Šefik Džaferović, Milo Ðukanović, Oliver Spasovski and Hashim Thaci.