A discussion on the investment potential of the Western Balkans started the accompanying events to the Summit for the region. The main focus is the economic potential of the Western Balkans, the measures to attract foreign investment and good practices for sustainable development.

The conference aims to promote regional cooperation in the economic sphere as an important part of the European integration of the Western Balkans and a key driver of their progress.

In parallel, the first high-level meetings accompanying the forum were also launched. In one of them, Prime Minister Bojko Borisov met Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. Borisov stressed that relations between the European Union and the Western Balkans are based on mutual commitment and must continue. In particular, this concerns reforms in the region, as well as the need for continuity in the process of integration of Western Balkan countries into the European Union.

For his part, Andrej Plenkovic confirmed that Croatia will launch a next EU-Western Balkans Summit in 2020. It can serve as a summary of the progress on projects launched as a result of the initiative of the Bulgarian Presidency. In turn, Zagreb will fight to give further impetus to the convergence processes of the countries in the region with the other countries in Europe.

Prime Minister Bojko Borisov also met with the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani. The visit is interpreted as a respect for both Bulgaria and the countries that will be in the focus of discussions by European leaders today and tomorrow.

At the same time, an important message came from Berlin, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave his first big speech to the Bundestag in her new mandate. The issue of the future of the Western Balkans has received a serious presence in her speech, and it was stressed that the region must enter the EU, but it also has to resolve its problems.

Finally, from Sofia Antonio Tajani and Donald Tusk did not miss the opportunity to comment on US President Donald Trump’s policy. The position of the President of the European Council was particularly negative. According to Tusk the recent decisions of the Trump administration show that the EU must rely only on its own power and opportunities, even when it needs foreign assistance. Tajani also commented on the situation after US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran. According to his words, the agreement must be strengthened and Washington must change its position on it.

The EU-Western Balkans Summit will take place in Sofia on 17 May 2018.