Western Balkans summit begins in Italy

Leaders from the European Union and the six Western Balkan nations came together for a summit in Trieste, Italy, on Wednesday to exchange ideas on how to step up cooperation and enhance the region's chances of eventual accession to the EU.

At the EU-Western Balkans Summit, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia agreed to create a common economic and trade area. A final statement from host, Italy, said that the future of the Western Balkans lies in the EU. The summit agreed on seven new connectivity projects with a total investment of over 570 million USD, pledging a further EU grant of 13 million USD for energy and transport projects in the region.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron support accession in the EU for the Western Balkan nations, stressing that political stability in the region means political stability for the EU, too. Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in his closing remarks that EU enlargement is not around the corner but it nevertheless must be held out as a concrete possibility for the region's countries.

Source: VOV5