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European Union mulls massive funding for infrastructure works in W. Balkans - Tajani

European Union mulls massive funding for infrastructure works in W. Balkans - Tajani

With Britain preparing to leave, the bloc's executive European Commission has proposed that EU leaders decide next month to open formal membership negotiations with Albania and Macedonia. Borissov said, asking whether it was not better to negotiate, rather than let "other geopolitical players" - an apparent reference to Russian Federation - enhance their already considerable influence in the region.

The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, said on Thursday he plans to propose the delivery of a financial package of 10 billion euro ($11.8 billion) to improve the transport and digital infrastructure in the Western Balkans.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was "not in favour of moving toward enlargement before we have all the required certainties and before genuine reform has been made" even as he added that the Balkan states should be anchored in the bloc.

According to diplomats who spoke to RFE/RL, some of the five countries that do not recognize Kosovo were unhappy about calling the final statement of the summit a "declaration" and would prefer to call it the "Bulgarian Presidency conclusions", or even to produce a declaration endorsed only by the European Union but not by the six Western Balkan countries.

The last wars on European soil took place in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo in the Balkans in the 1990s, following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

"The role of the EU is absolutely essential", he said, "And so my appeal here in Brussels is for the the European Union to be more and more united, more and more effective, more and more present and for its voice to be more and more heard in global relations".

PES leaders call for stepping up of EU accession for Balkan countries

Tusk again sharply criticised the Trump administration, a day after he said in regard to it that "some might say, with friends like that, who needs enemies".

The EU accession talks with Serbia and Montenegro are in the most advanced stage and an agreement for their entry into the bloc by 2025 is possible, Tajani said on Thursday. Bulgaria's prime minister recently warned Russian Federation and China will otherwise gain toeholds in the region.

But the declaration avoids using the words "adhesion" or "enlargement" - European Union code words for the path to membership of the bloc. "We don't want that to happen".

These include a bitter and long-running dispute between Macedonia and EU-member Greece over its name, which Athens insists refers to its own northern province.

Spain's prime minister is staying away because his country, roiled by the Catalan independence drive, does not recognise Kosovo's 2008 split from Serbia.

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.

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