Macron: EU summit decides to back Iran deal, protect European businesses

Macron: EU summit decides to back Iran deal, protect European businesses

Macron: EU summit decides to back Iran deal, protect European businesses

In public some European leaders played down the chances of a quick accession for the six Balkan states not in the EU while others warned of the dangers of losing the region.

"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", reads the Sofia Declaration, which goes on to stress the primary importance of democracy and the rule of law, especially the fight against corruption and organised crime, good governance, as well as respect for human rights and rights of persons belonging to minorities. Chakrabarti said it will see by the end of the year how much of the extra 3 billion euros a year can go into the Western Balkans.

"This includes in particular finding and implementing definitive, inclusive and binding solutions for their bilateral disputes rooted in the legacy of the past and devoting additional efforts to reconciliation", it said.

The declaration also stipulates that building a network of ties and opportunities with the European Union and the region is crucial for bringing citizens and economies together, as well as for strengthening political stability, economic prosperity, cultural and social development. "There is no alternative, there is no plan B. The Western Balkans are an integral part of Europe and they belong to our community".

Leaders of the Western Balkans and European Union are meeting in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia for their first summit in 15 years.

The summit began with a plenary session on connectivity, followed by a working lunch. I fully support Commissioner Gabriel's actions on roaming and digital politics in this region, said Antonio Tajani.

European Council President Donald Tusk explained the Balkan's complexity by referring to Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov's point that the combined GDP of all six countries equals that of Slovakia, so they could be easily absorbed by the bloc.

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

"I believe that it took us too long since our last meeting in Thessaloniki 15 years ago, and this is why we made a decision to meet again in two years in Croatia".

European Union and the Western Balkans partners acknowledge that results in fighting corruption and organized crime are essential for the region's political and socio-economic transformation and also for regional stability and security, which are in the best interest of their citizens, the declaration said.

"We reaffirmed our mutual commitment to the European perspective for the whole region".

"I think that the real geopolitical problem is not when you have an unpredictable opponent or enemy or partner, the problem is when your closest friend is unpredictable", he said. The tiny Mediterranean island member state has routinely blocked Turkey's European Union membership talks.

"If Europe obtains an unlimited exemption from the proposed tariff measures, we are ready to engage in talks with out transatlantic partner", said the European Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker.

"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.

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