European Union-Western Balkans Summit (Brussels, 13 December 2023)

The Summit between the European Union and the six Western Balkans countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) was held in Brussels on 13 December 2023, attended by the French President, Emmanuel Macron. This meeting came as the European Union strengthened its action in the region.

The Summit, between European Union and Western Balkans leaders, followed on from the Tirana Summit in December 2022, which was the first to be held in the region.

Essential subjects were discussed at the meeting:

  • The European Union’s deepened commitment to the Western Balkans and advancing gradual integration between the European Union and countries in the region during their accession process;
  • Support for socio-economic convergence between the Western Balkans and the EU, thanks to the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans presented by the European Commission in early November;
  • Strengthening the region’s security and resilience, including in the cyber field.

    The summit reaffirmed the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

Complete reunification of the European continent through the enlargement process is a geostrategic investment in peace, security and prosperity.

The European Union is the leading partner, investor and donor in the Western Balkans. It makes significant investments in the region, including through the Economic and Investment Plan, which supports investment projects in the fields of transport, energy, the digital and ecological transitions, the private sector and social development, including for young people, totalling €30 billion (in loans and grants).

In the face of the energy crisis, the European Union has supported the region through the 2022 Energy Support Package which totalled €1 billion. Cooperation between the European Union and its Western Balkans partners has already given rise, for example, to a reduction in roaming charges.

France supports the EU accession perspective of the Western Balkans, which is a strategic necessity, particularly in the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The gradual integration of our Western Balkans partners is essential and requires these countries to continue implementing fundamental reforms, particularly in the field of the rule of law and the functioning of democratic institutions.

Through its interministerial strategy, France continues its re-engagement in the region, as demonstrated by the recent appointment by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of a Special Envoy for the Western Balkans. It is politically active to support the region’s stability, particularly with regard to the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) has dedicated more than €1.1 billion to the Western Balkans since 2019 to support the ecological and energy transitions.

In partnership with Slovenia and Montenegro, France established the Western Balkans Cyber Capacity Centre (WB3C) in Podgorica.

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