German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that the European Union’s duty is to bring the region closer to EU membership.
By signing the Agreement on Transport, the 4th Summit of the Western Balkan countries, which is being organized within the framework of the Berlin Process, was completed in Trieste.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only country in the Western Balkans that has not signed this agreement at today’s summit because of the opposition of the BiH entity Republika Srpska.
The main message of the summit was to strengthen regional cooperation and connectivity in the Western Balkans as a key element for accelerating the European integration processes of the region, strengthening economic cooperation, primarily in the sector of small and medium enterprises, IT sector and science.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union’s duty is to bring the region closer “slowly but surely” towards EU membership.
“Political stability in the region means political stability for us as well. We know it from experience,” she said at the beginning of a high-level summit.
The Western Balkans Summit is held in Trieste within the framework of the Berlin Process, and meetings of the highest officials of Italy, France, Germany and the United Kingdom and leaders of the Western Balkans have been held.
The main topics at the highest level were the strengthening of Western Balkan connectivity as a key element for accelerating the European integration processes of the region, strengthening of economic cooperation, especially in the field of small and medium enterprises, IT sector and science, strengthening of youth cooperation, the issue of the rule of law and Fighting corruption, combating terrorism, extremism and radicalism, as well as the issue of migration.
Multi-year Action Plan
One of the concrete results of this year’s summit in Trieste is the adoption of a multi-annual action plan on the regional economic space of the Western Balkans, which includes trade, investment, mobility and digital integration.
The Summit was completed by the Chairman’s Declaration, which included conclusions and guidelines for further activities in the areas discussed at the conference.
The Berlin Process is held every year since 2014 (Berlin 2014, Vienna 2015, Paris 2016 and Triumph 2017) and this year the special emphasis will be on strengthening economic ties in the Western Balkans.