Upon an initiative by the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Nikola Dimitrov, together with the ministers in charge of the European portfolio in the region, participated today in a meeting for an exchange of opinions and preparation related to the October EU-Western Balkans Summit.
Key topics on the Summit’s agenda and expected outcomes, including the EU economic support for the region and the construction of a regional internal market were discussed at the meeting, including the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination process, as well as the green agenda and efforts to reduce roaming costs between the region and the EU.
Deputy Prime Minister Dimitrov stressed that the Summit must send a clear political signal for the European future of the Western Balkans. It is clear that the trust in the process has been shaken and without such a clear message, credibility will be further questioned.
Dimitrov: “The Summit should be an opportunity to bring the EU economic support closer to citizens, including the strategic partnership with the region in addressing global issues as common challenges - COVID-19 and vaccination, migration and security issues; however, progress in the enlargement process is the basic framework for success.”
EU Commissioner Várhelyi announced at the meeting that yesterday the European Parliament passed the IPA III Regulation as an instrument for pre-accession assistance of the European Commission for the 2021-2027 programming period, following the positive decision of the EU Council from 7 September, and announced the regional visit of the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, which was planned just before the Summit.