Leaders of the EU and Western Balkan states will meet today in Tirana, Albania. This marks the first time the
Leaders of the EU and Western Balkan states will meet today in Tirana, Albania.
This marks the first time the EU-Western Balkans Summit is hosted by a country in the region. Leaders of the EU and the Western Balkan countries—Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia—meet regularly to discuss further steps in supporting the region’s political and economic development, with the ultimate goal of eventual EU accession. However, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced last Friday that he would boycott the summit, due to an ongoing diplomatic spat with Kosovo.
This format also plays an important role in the EU’s attempt to keep Russian influence out of the region. To this end, Brussels announced an energy support package to Western Balkan states worth $1 billion last month. This summit will likely see further steps taken to mitigate the Russian war’s impact on the region, particularly on energy and food security, such as EU commitments of solidarity to the region and additional funding.
Leaders of EU member states are likely to also push for further measures by the region’s governments to limit migration, as the Balkans have become a major migratory route into the EU, with over 280,000 undocumented crossings recorded this year.