"Sofia Declaration on the Western Balkans” will be Signed Today

The key EU-Western Balkans Meeting will be held today in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia. It's expected that the so-called "Sofia Declaration on the Western Balkans” will be signed. This gives the prospect of EU membership of the six countries in the region (Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina). There will also be an annexe with specific engagements.

A meeting about EU-Western Balkans relations at such a level has not been held for 15 years, and only 12 months ago when Bulgaria launched the idea, it was sceptical that it will ever happen.

The event is a peak moment in the calendar of the Bulgarian Euro-Presidency. It is a great success of our diplomacy to return the topic of Western Balkan EU membership to the EU agenda and putting it on such a high level. All 28 Member States except Spain will be represented today by their Heads of State or Government. Spain is expected to be represented by its ambassador to the Permanent Representation to the European Commission. It is one of the five Member States that do not recognize Kosovo's independence.

The final declaration from Sofia is expected to be supported by all participating countries. The document foresees specific commitments of the EU to the region - on energy, digital and transport connectivity.

Undoubtedly Bulgaria plays a significant role in directing the spotlight to the theme of the Western Balkans and the EU. The processes of integration and increased interest in the region began after the signing of the Neighborhood Agreement between Bulgaria and Macedonia. For the last year, the stagnation of many countries in the region towards EU membership has been overcome.

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Bilyana Ninova

Bilyana Ninova is a Marketing specialist, content creator and hobby photographer.

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