24 C
Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
24 C
Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    EU, Western Balkans to boost partnership amid Ukraine war

    TIRANA, ALBANIA (AP) – European Union (EU) leaders and their Western Balkan counterparts gathered yesterday for talks aimed at boosting their partnership as Russia’s war in Ukraine threatens to reshape the geopolitical balance in the region.

    The EU wants to use the one-day summit in Albania’s capital to tell leaders from Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia that they have futures within the bloc and give them concrete signs that they will join one day.

    Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has been repeating that stepping up the bloc’s engagement with the six nations is more crucial than ever to maintaining Europe’s security.

    As Europe’s relationship with Russia deteriorates further because of the war, tensions have also mounted in the Balkans and the EU wants to avoid other flashpoints close to its borders.

    “In the Western Balkans, several crises are looming, and partners feel the immediate damaging impact of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” Borrell said last month.

    “The shockwaves of this war are hitting the Western Balkans. To counter that, we are stepping up our engagement as the Western Balkans remain our geostrategic priority – the closest and most important geostrategic priority.”

    According to a draft of the declaration to be adopted at the summit, the EU will repeat “its full and unequivocal commitment to the EU membership perspective of the Western Balkans” and call for an acceleration of accession talks with the incumbents.

    In return, the EU expects full solidarity from its Western Balkans partners and wants them fully aligned with its foreign policies.

    The venue of the EU Western Balkans Summit, in Tirana, Albania. PHOTO: AP
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