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What is expected from the EU-Western Balkans summit?

What is expected from the EU-Western Balkans summit?

On December 13, the joint summit of the leaders of the European Union with their colleagues from the six countries of the Western Balkans is expected to take place in Brussels. President Vjosa Osmani is expected to represent Kosovo at this summit, while Serbia is expected to be represented by Prime Minister Ana Bërnabiq.

The normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia is expected to be one of the main topics of the debate as it is estimated that these relations are key to the stability of the entire region. Kosovo and Serbia have been part of the dialogue mediated by the EU, for the normalization of relations, since 2011. The parties have signed a number of agreements, but not all of them have been implemented.

A joint declaration is expected to be approved at this summit, which will confirm, on the one hand, the strategic orientation of the region for EU integration, and on the other hand, the commitment of the EU in this direction.

Radio Free Europe has had access to the draft statement that is expected to be approved at this summit.

The European Union, through this statement, will reiterate its unreserved commitment to the perspective of EU membership for the countries of the Western Balkans and the acceleration of this process, based on the individual merits of the candidate countries in the reform process and the fulfillment of the criteria.

Here, first of all, the need for progress in the field of the rule of law and order and in respect of the fundamental principles and values ​​of the European Union is underlined.

The text of the draft was compiled by the European Union and it is expected that it will be supported by the leaders of the countries of the Western Balkan region.

This summit is also expected to call on Kosovo and Serbia to fulfill their obligations from the dialogue facilitated by the European Union without delay.

"We continue to support the efforts of the EU High Representative and the Special Representative for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and other regional issues in the Western Balkans. We expect constructive engagement from the parties to achieve rapid progress in the normalization of their relations, which is key for security and stability in the entire region and to ensure the advancement of both parties in their respective European journeys," the draft of this joint statement.

"We invite both parties to fully implement the Agreement on the path to the normalization of relations and its annex, as well as all agreements from the past, without any new delays and without preconditions", it is further stated in the part that was is devoted to relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

There, as well, the invitation to reduce tensions in the north of Kosovo is repeated.

"We also expect the parties to make sustained efforts to reduce tensions in accordance with EU requirements and refrain from unilateral and uncoordinated actions that could lead to new tensions and violence. as well as to refrain from rhetoric which is not in line with the normalization of relations", the text says.

The European Union will invite all partners from the Western Balkans region to resolve all their disagreements and open issues.

At this summit, the EU will also express its commitment to help the countries of the region in dealing with the consequences of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, both in terms of energy, and in dealing with the hybrid threats coming from Russia.

As for the positions towards Russia, the EU is expected to express gratitude to the countries that have adapted to the positions of the European Union and ask those that have not done so to do so as soon as possible. This has to do, first of all, with Serbia, which continues to be the only country in the region that has not supported the sanctions against Russia.

"As we deepen our cooperation with our partners, we invite them to make rapid and steady progress towards full alignment with the EU's common foreign and security policy, including the EU's restrictive measures in this direction. We appreciate those partners from the Western Balkans who have already demonstrated their strategic commitment by fully aligning with the EU's foreign policy and encourage those who have not yet done so to follow suit. this road. We also encourage improved efforts to implement restrictive measures and prevent their circumvention," the text says.

The summit of the EU and the Western Balkans will take place on December 13, a day before the European Council meets, where enlargement will be one of the main topics./REL

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