Macron: EU summit decides to back Iran deal, protect European businesses
Macron: EU summit decides to back Iran deal, protect European businesses
NewsEuropean Integration In Focus Sofia Declaration 17 May 2018
18 May, 2018, 04:48
"Given history of the region, given the existing pressures, these [Western Balkan] countries could turn to Russian Federation or to Turkey and this would be a wrong solution both for the region and for Europe".
But EU members are divided over whether to declare that all six western Balkan countries at the summit - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia - can one day join the bloc.
British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak following a trilateral meeting on the sidelines of an EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia on May 17, 2018.
Macron's comments come as a particular disappointment to Albania and Macedonia, which are hoping for the green light from EU leaders next month to begin talks to join the bloc, having received the thumbs-up from the European Commission in April.
"The EU supports the Western Balkans partners' pledge to continue strengthening good neighborly relations, regional stability and mutual cooperation".
"Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think with friends like that who needs enemies", Tusk told reporters in Sofia on Wednesday.
Tusk said that while there were low expectations regarding Iran, there were high expectations regarding Washington.
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During the "family photoshoot", Kosovo's Hashim Taci and Serbia's Alexander Vucic were seen close to each other, while they later shook hands when they signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Union under the approving gaze of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.
"We want to demonstrate that we care about socioeconomic development in the region here and now".
However, Merkel added: "As for compensating all businesses in a comprehensive way for such measures by the United States of America, I think we can not and must not create illusions".
Unlocking talks for Macedonia - officially known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) - could also be tricky for the European Union as they squabble over naming.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is staying away from the summit in protest because of his country's opposition to Kosovo's independence.
A dispute between Greece and Macedonia over the Greek province of Macedonia - whether the country's name implies a claim to the Greek province - has been enough to see Greece block Macedonia's membership of the European Union in recent years.
The leaders of Macedonia and Greece met on the sidelines of the summit although officials played down the chance of any deal.
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Mexico is under pressure to strike a deal before presidential elections in July further inject politics in negotiations. US officials say the negotiations need to wrap up very soon to give the current Congress time to vote on a final text.
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