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Polish PM in Sofia for EU-Western Balkans summit

Polish PM in Sofia for EU-Western Balkans summit

With Britain preparing to leave, the bloc's executive European Commission has proposed that EU leaders decide next month to open formal membership negotiations with Albania and Macedonia.

The declaration was adopted by the leaders of the European Union and of its member states, in consultation with their Western Balkans partners, and in the presence of relevant regional stakeholders, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union said on its website.

Government Spokesman of the Anastasiades administration, Prodromos Prodromou, referred to the intervention of the President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, during the works of the EU-Western Balkans Summit, as well as on the contacts he held in the margins of the Summit.

The statement said the European Union is determined to strengthen and intensify its engagement at all levels to support the region's political, economic and social transformation, including through increased assistance based on tangible progress in the rule of law, as well as in socio-economic reforms, by the Western Balkans partners.

During the EU-Western Balkans summit, Donald Tusk claimed the Western Balkans can't proceed into the future without the EU.

"I am in favor of anchoring the Balkans in Europe and moving toward Europe".

She made a point of supporting the region, saying that "history tells us that if the western Balkans are stable and secure, then all of Europe is more stable and secure".

Leaders of the Western Balkan countries signed a statement supporting the digital agenda for their region.

"We have just concluded a very good and fruitful EU-Western Balkans summit".

"I believe we have covered a major part of the distance, but there is still distance to cover", his Greek colleague added.

"We reaffirmed our mutual commitment to the European perspective for the whole region". Investing in infrastructural and human connections with and within the Western Balkans is in the EU's best interest.

While the summit did not give any of the six countries a firm date for when they might join the bloc, the declaration released at the close of the day's talks encourages all of the Western Balkan countries to continue on the path of EU-oriented reform.

"Membership in the EU means the sharing of values and principles, such as respect for the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression - because the EU is above all a union of values and rights", Juncker said.

"We have pinpointed one option that may be acceptable for both sides [but] we have to consult with the other political factors in our countries, with the presidents and with the other political leaders", Zaev cautioned in a press conference.