A declaration confirming the unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans concluded the summit in Sofia, bringing together the leaders of the European Union and its Member States and partners from the Western Balkans. In order to accelerate the improvement of citizens' lives in the areas of connectivity and security, the EU has also launched a priority program which envisages strengthening the support for the countries in the region for the principles of the rule of law and good governance, the commitment to security and migration, economic development with a focus on young people, increased connectivity, digitization, and support for reconciliation and good neighborly relations. The implementation will be funded by the EU and international financial institutions.
The only salvation for the European Union is to be united, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said at the press conference at the end of the EU-Western Balkan Summit, which he hosted. The Prime Minister defined the discussion between the leaders of the member states and the countries of the region as beneficial and stressed that they all reconfirmed the Euro-Atlantic path of the Western Balkan countries and the need for transport, gas, and digital connectivity.
There is no Plan B for the Western Balkan countries, they are an integral part of Europe and their place is in our community, said European Council President Donald Tusk. He noted that the purpose of the meeting was not to provide dates for accession to the Union and that membership will only be attained once the criteria and conditions are fulfilled.
Together with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who represented the EU at the forum, Tusk thanked Boyko Borissov for the excellent organization of the meeting and for the opportunity to discuss specific commitments in a broad format. The Bulgarian Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction with the fact that Sofia has created opportunities for dialogue between countries with open questions to resolve.
After the meeting, Bulgaria and Serbia signed a declaration in support of the commitment to build an interconnection gas pipeline. It is to be in exploitation by May 2022 at the latest. A Memorandum of Understanding between Serbia and the European Investment Bank was also signed. The Commission and the six Western Balkan countries signed a Digital Agenda Declaration for the region.