EU-Western Balkans Summit in Tirana to reconfirm the EU’s strategic bond with accession partners

On Tuesday 6 December, the EU and the Western Balkans leaders will hold a Summit in Tirana, hosted by Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, and chaired by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. The European Commission will be represented by its President, Ursula von der Leyen, High Representative/Vice-President for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, and Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi.

The Summit is taking place in the Western Balkans for the first time, as a clear sign of the EU’s commitment to the strategic partnership with the region and its EU membership perspective. Discussions will focus on addressing jointly the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, in particular in the energy sector. The Commission will report on the implementation of the almost €30 billion Economic and Investment Plan to help spur the long term recovery of the region. Furthermore, the Commission will inform about the €1 billion Energy Support Package for the entire Western Balkans presented by President von der Leyen in November to help vulnerable households and medium and small sized enterprises cushion the high energy prices and advance key infrastructure investments to diversify energy supplies, boost renewable production and energy efficiency.

Ahead of the Summit, the leaders will witness the signing of a declaration between representatives of telecom operators from the Western Balkans and the EU on the first voluntary lowering of roaming charges, starting in October 2023, between the region and the EU.

Other issues on the agenda will include cooperation on cyber security, information manipulation, migration, as well as enhancing political dialogue and cooperation on core security issues. At the end of the meeting, the leaders are foreseen to adopt a declaration. Following the Summit, President Ursula von der Leyen, President Charles Michel and Prime Minister Edi Rama will hold a joint press conference at +/- 3 pm CET. You can follow it live on EbS.