Western Balkans Conference Kicks Off in Berlin
Prime Ministers, foreign ministers and economy ministers of the Western Balkan countries are to meet Thursday in Berlin at a forum organized by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The German Chancellor announced plans to organize the Conference of Western Balkan States on June 7.
Speaking before the start of the August 28 conference, Merkel said that the Western Balkans needed a European perspective, adding that their EU accession depended on the swiftness of implementing the necessary reforms.
Merkel, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency, rejected allegations of the EU using double standards in its decisions on EU enlargement, stressing that the EC kept issuing reports on the rule of law and the progress of democratization and the fight against corruption in Bulgaria and Romania.
The conference will be attended by heads of government and ministers from all six Western Balkans countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as representatives of EU Member States Croatia and Slovenia.
The meeting will be also attended by EC President Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, Austrian Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner, and Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz.
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