Press Advisories

17. 5. 2018 19:40

Premier Babiš supported West Balkan countries on their way to the EU at a summit in Sofia

A joint photo of the EU-West Balkans Summit participants, 17 May 2018.
A joint photo of the EU-West Balkans Summit participants, 17 May 2018.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš attended the EU-West Balkans Summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Thursday. The summit was attended by EU leaders and representatives of six West Balkan countries - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia. The summit focused mainly on enhancing cooperation between the EU and the West Balkans in security and infrastructure.

The Czech premier emphasised at the meting, that it is in the interest of the EU that the West Balkan countries become its members in the future. "There is only one Europe and without the Balkans we can never say that we are speaking on behalf of Europe as a whole. Also for that reason we need to have those countries in the EU and in the Schengen area as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the EU did not confirm the date of enlargement today while such date would motivate the West Balkan countries to work further. Despite that I believe that the West Balkan countries will continue to advance intensively in reforms, in combating corruption, organised crime and smuggling. For Europe, it is a key region that enjoys our full support,"said Premier Andrej Babiš after the meeting.

Today, the EU leaders spoke with the West Balkan representatives about security and connectivity. The discussion addressed not only connectivity in terms of transport but also in economic and cultural terms, for example with respect to the Erasmus+ programme.

Before the summit started, an informal meeting was held on Wednesday evening among the heads of state and prime ministers of EU Member States. The leaders of European states discussed mainly the relations with the USA in the light of trade relations and the nuclear agreement with Iran. The European statesmen agreed that the EU interest at this point is to preserve the agreement, because it significantly contributes to security in the region. Another theme of the informal dinner were customs duties on the import of steel and aluminium and the negotiation of permanent exemption with the USA, which currently applies to the EU until the end of May.

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