Two key-level forums will be held at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia.

First, Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi has received an invitation from the European Union and Bulgaria to participate in the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia, which will take place on 17 May.

This move brings a change to the current standing that Kosovo will be represented by Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj at the meeting. However, according to recent figures, the prime minister will be attending only the Vienna Economic Forum, whose host will again be the city of Sofia on 18 May. The second important event is considered (to a certain extent) a continuation of the EU-Western Balkans Summit, which will take place a day earlier.

The most likely explanation is that Thaçi was invited to Sofia for a dialogue with Belgrade, because Serbian President Alexander Vucic will also be present in the Bulgarian capital. In this way, Brussels will try to initiate a constructive dialogue between the two countries again.

In parallel, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev confirmed the information that there would be a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Sofia during the forum. This will be a meeting behind closed doors, and during the talks, the two prime ministers will try to reach a final agreement on resolving the “Macedonian issue”.

The dates 11 and 12 May are also important for the development of events. During the period there will be a new meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias, near Athens. It will also be attended by the international mediator Matthew Nimetz. Since 1994, Nimetz has tried to negotiate the settlement of the strangest international dispute in which Greece rejects Macedonia’s name and refuses to allow it to join NATO or the EU until it is replaced by another.

The meeting on 17 May is defined as the key event during the Bulgarian presidency because it is linked to one of our specific priorities: the European perspective and the connectivity of the Western Balkans. The Forum sets three main objectives – to give a strong signal of a European perspective for the countries of the region, to draw attention to the importance of connectivity in the various dimensions – energy, digital, transport, education, connectivity between people, in order to overcome existing stereotypes, and the third goal is to address issues that are of mutual strategic interest to the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans.