Balkans – Western Balkans Summit (London, 10 July 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will represent President Macron at the annual summit of the Berlin Process devoted to the Western Balkans due to take place in London on July 10, which brings together 8 EU countries (Germany, Austria, Croatia, France, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom and Slovenia) and 6 Western Balkan countries (Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia).

France has participated in this process since it was launched in 2014 and hosted the summit in 2016. The political dialogue initiated on this occasion between several EU member states and the Western Balkans countries, as well as the concrete projects launched in order revitalize trade, support young people and resolve bilateral disputes, contribute to the lasting stabilization, economic and social development and European rapprochement of this region.

The minister will discuss France’s contribution to the fight against the trafficking of small arms and light weapons in the Western Balkans region thanks to a French-German initiative currently being implemented and, more broadly, our commitment, in cooperation with the countries of the region, to combating security threats. He will underscore France’s support for reconciliation between the countries and people of the Western Balkans, notably through the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), established on the basis of the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ).

The minister will reaffirm France’s position, which is in line with the conclusions of the European Council of June 28 and consists of acknowledging and fostering the European prospects of the Western Balkans. The opening of membership negotiations with these countries must take into account the progress that has to be made on certain points identified by the European Commission, on one hand, and the updating of the EU’s operating rules, on the other.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will indicate our full support for the implementation of the agreement recently concluded between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia concerning the latter’s name, and will call on Serb and Kosovar leaders to continue their efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement on normalizing their relations.