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EU Leaders Reassure Balkan States 'Brexit' Won't Threaten Enlargement


The leaders of France and Germany have told Balkan states seeking EU membership that the British vote to leave the EU won't threaten eventual enlargement of the bloc.

"The British decision does not in any way put into question commitments made toward countries in the Balkan region. They will be respected," French President Francois Hollande said after a Balkan summit in Paris on July 4.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU’s enlargement strategy "has not changed with the British decision."

Hollande and Merkel met with their counterparts from the Balkan region, including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.

Also, the leaders of Austria and Italy as well as EU foreign-affairs chief Federica Mogherini attended the summit.

The summit comes amid questions over the EU's future after Britain voted to leave.

Balkan countries that are not already EU states worry that they will now face more hurdles to their membership bids as the bloc struggles to stay together.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa
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