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EU: Western Balkans Leaders Call For Timetable For Integration

Ohrid, Macedonia; 2 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The leaders of five Balkan nations today called on the European Union to establish a timetable for their countries' integration into the bloc at a summit later this month in Thessaloniki, Greece. The presidents of Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro, after meeting in Macedonia to formulate a joint strategy on joining the EU, released a statement saying the summit will represent an "extraordinary opportunity" for all parties to make "concrete progress towards European integration."

The statement said Balkan leaders expect Brussels to send "a strong political message" to the people of the Balkans that the EU is committed to the region's integration.

EU leaders plan to hold their summit in the Greek city of Thessaloniki on 20 and 21 June. The leaders of the Balkan countries will participate in the talks on 21 June.