The European Union on Thursday welcomed the commitment of the Western Balkans to shared European values, including democracy and the rule of law and reaffirmed its unequivocal support for the region’s European perspective.
“The EU welcomes the shared commitment of the Western Balkans partners to European values and principles, and to the vision of a strong, stable and united Europe, underpinned by our historic, cultural and geographic ties and by our mutual political, security and economic interests,” the declaration from the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia said and warned that the credibility of their efforts depends on clear public communication.
The EU will intensify its overall engagement in support of the political, economic and social transformation of the region, the fight against corruption and organised crime, good governance, and respect for human and minority rights.
The declaration said that the citizens and economies of the region need to come closer together and find binding solutions for bilateral disputes “We pledge to enhance substantially connectivity in all its dimensions: transport, energy, digital, economic and human”, it said and added that the EU will promote a market- and investment-friendly environment to allow the region to move faster towards a digital economy and sustainable and climate-friendly societies with a priority given to energy security and creating opportunities for young people.
The declaration warned that cooperation needs to be increased in countering terrorism and extremism, including against the financing, radicalisation and return of foreign terrorist fighters to the region.“The EU welcomes the contribution of the Western Balkans partners to its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and expects a deepening of cooperation in this area.”
The Sofia Priority Agenda adopted at the summit lists all areas of cooperation and efforts which need to be enhanced.
The full text of the Sofia Declaration and Priority Agenda can be found here.