The EU-Western Balkans summit, which will be held next month, will not give as strong a message as the one held in Thessaloniki in 2003, but it will clearly emphasise European Union membership prospects for Southeast European countries, the Croatian Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejcinovic-Buric said in Luxembourg on Monday.
The 2003 EU-Western Balkans Summit in Thessaloniki marked a shift in EU policy from ensuring post-conflict stability in the region towards the prospect of EU integration.
As part of the preparations for the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia on May 17, the EU foreign ministers discussed the Western Balkans during a working lunch in Luxembourg on Monday.
"I think we have agreed that it is very important to confirm the European prospects for the Southeast European countries,” Pejcinovic-Buric said, adding that the text for the declaration had not been agreed on yet, but it will show support of the EU enlargement, based on common interests and criteria.
“In other words, it will not be an enlargement summit like the one in 2003, but will certainly underline the European prospects,” Pejcinovic-Buric said.
According to diplomatic sources, several member states, including Germany, France and the Netherlands, do not want the Sofia summit to be understood as an enlargement summit. instead, they want to focus on connecting the countries within the region, as well as on connecting the region with the EU on specific issues.