In a pivotal gathering held in Athens, the European Union and representatives from the Western Balkan countries, Ukraine, and Moldova have underscored the need to chart a compelling course forward. The focal point of this landmark meeting? Shaping the trajectory of the European Union with an enriched landscape, encompassing the Western Balkans, Ukraine, and Moldova.
In a joint declaration, the collective emphasis is on bolstering the aspirations of the Western Balkans, Ukraine, and Moldova to integrate into the EU. The declaration emphasizes the importance of these regions being welcomed as full-fledged members of the European family.
“With unwavering conviction, we believe that two decades after the Solun Summit and in light of the new geopolitical realities, it is time to adopt a bold and ambitious ultimate goal that will serve as a guiding light, an inspiration, and a framework. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a pivotal moment for Europe, forging a heightened consciousness about shared principles, unity, and a collective future within the EU. This marks a critical juncture for the security, peace, and stability of our European continent. The laws and principles that have long contributed to a stable and predictable European security order have been shattered, and once again, we witness the destructive effects of revisionism,” reads a segment of the Declaration, as posted on the Greek government’s website.
The Declaration further extends steadfast support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized boundaries, founded on the bedrock of democracy and the rule of law.
“In our discussions today in Athens, we expressed our support and gratitude for the sincere efforts of President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to establish peace principles in accordance with the UN Charter, within his peace formula. We also welcomed the efforts of the United Nations General Assembly to promote comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine. We agreed that there can be no impunity for war crimes and other offenses, such as attacks on civilians and the destruction of infrastructure, and all those responsible must be held accountable,” the Declaration states. Additionally, the urgent need for an inclusive EU is highlighted:
“The escalating aggressive war against Ukraine has underscored the urgent need for a robust, resilient, and inclusive EU, serving as the cornerstone of peace and prosperity among our peoples during these challenging times. We stressed that the Western Balkans, Ukraine, and the Republic of Moldova, as geographically neighboring states to EU member states, share a common European heritage, history, and future defined by shared opportunities and challenges. As a strategic investment for peace, security, and stability in Europe, it is crucial that these regions be embraced as full-fledged members of the European family.”
The signatories, it is emphasized, align with the principles, unity, and collective future within the EU.
At the informal meeting in Athens, upon the invitation of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, participants included Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, Moldovan President Maia Sandu, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Montenegrin President Jakov Milatović, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Romanian Prime Minister Ion-Marcel Ciolacu, Albanian Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, North Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski, and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
Present at the event were also the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, respectively.
Foto: Predsedništvo Srbije / Dimitrije Goll