A summit of eight leaders from Southeastern Europe will take place on July 15 in Dubrovnik, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in attendance to discuss the region's further approach to the European Union.
It will be the second meeting of its kind, involving Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia.
The initiative was launched last year by Croatia and Slovenia, both EU members.
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said Merkel's presence "shows that Europe is interested, recognizing in its members Croatia and Slovenia the leading forces of European politics towards the region."
On July 14, the eight presidents met with regional business leaders and urged closer economic ties between them as a key means for reviving and making competitive their small economies.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said, "We will not be able to achieve goals that each of us has only by our respective countries."
Based on reporting by AFP, HINA, and balkaneu.com