Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz has called for “stronger cooperation” between the European Union and the six Western Balkan countries that remain outside the bloc, saying it will help increase the “stability and development” of the region.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a Western Balkan summit in the western Polish city of Poznan on July 4, Czaputowicz said that "including these countries in the main current of European integration will be fruitful for the entire EU and the entire continent as it will expand the domain of common values."
Poland currently presides over the Berlin Process, designed to revitalize ties between the Western Balkans and EU member states.
The two-day summit is a chance to "send positive impulses" to Western Balkan countries, Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk said ahead of the gathering.
He also expressed hope that the participants would agree to start EU membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in October.
The four other Western Balkan countries seeking to join the EU are Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo.
The gathering of foreign, interior, and economy ministers of the Western Balkan states will be joined on July 5 by EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, and Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Last month, the EU member states postponed a decision on whether to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania until October, amid resistance from some bloc members, including France and the Netherlands.
The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, has recommended that accession talks with the two Balkan nations begin as soon as possible, saying the two countries have "delivered on reforms."