Von der Leyen says came to tell W. Balkan countries EU wants them

NEWS 29.09.2021 18:49
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Ursula von der Leyen
Source: Ursula von der Leyen (REUTERS/Yves Herman)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Podgorica on Wednesday she came to Montenegro to encourage it and commend it for its achievements, calling on its politicians to establish a dialogue so that Montenegro could continue to lead in the European integration of the Western Balkans.

Speaking to the press after meeting with President Milo Đukanović, she said the EU helped Montenegro during the pandemic with donations in medical equipment and vaccines, and that now it wanted to work with it on its economic recovery.

Now we must look to the future and strategically invest in key sectors. Citizens deserve a greener, more digital, more sustainable future, well-paid jobs. Through a joint effort, we will manage to draw another €20 billion in loans for the region, von der Leyen said.

She called on the Western Balkan partners to step up activities for the establishment of a common market.

Von der Leyen vowed that the Commission will support certain sections of the Montenegrin motorway which connect the country with Serbia and that it will help financially the reconstruction of the Podgorica-Tirana railway.

She reiterated that Montenegro had progressed the most in the EU accession process, saying that if it wanted to continue along that path, it must establish a political dialogue.

She also commented on a Reuters article that said that the EU could not guarantee that six Balkan countries would join and was asked if that meant that Brussels had given up on enlargement.

Von der Leyen said her visit to the region was undertaken solely for the purpose of the European perspective and that she was here to encourage the Western Balkan countries.

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