Polish PM in Sofia for EU-Western Balkans summit

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The EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia on Thursday wasn't supposed to talk about the enlargement but should have given a clear stance for the countries of the Western Balkans that the European Union counts on them and that it sees their future in EU membership, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) said after the end of the informal summit in Bulgaria, in the country now chairing the EU Council.

"The EU supports the Western Balkans partners' pledge to continue strengthening good neighborly relations, regional stability and mutual cooperation".

"The EU reaffirms its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans".

The statement said the European Union is determined to strengthen and intensify its engagement at all levels to support the region's political, economic and social transformation, including through increased assistance based on tangible progress in the rule of law, as well as in socio-economic reforms, by the Western Balkans partners.

Under the preliminary calculations, the projects have a combined value of 30 billion euro, Tajani said speaking through an interpreter during a news conference on the sidelines of the EU - Western Balkans summit in Sofia broadcast by Bulgarian TV channel Kanal 3. There was no "plan B", Tusk said, emphasising that the future of the Western Balkans was in the EU.

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Tusk said that it had been "too long" since the previous such gathering of European Union and Western Balkans leaders, in the Greek city of Thessaloniki 15 years ago, which was why the leaders had agreed that the next such meeting should be in Croatia two years from now.

The EU-Western Balkans took place today and aimed to improve the relationship with the non-EU member states from the region, mainly Serbia and Macedonia. "I believe we have covered a major part of the distance, but there is still distance to cover", he said.

But EU members are divided over whether to declare that all six western Balkan countries at the summit - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia - can one day join the bloc.

Without a "European perspective", the Balkans risk falling back into the "misfortunes we saw in the 90s" when Yugoslavia was tearing itself apart, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned last week.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters they spoke about the significance of the digital agenda, that is, the money that will be allocated for infrastructure providing the basis for economic growth.