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German Chancellor Angela Merkel To Meet With Western Balkan Leaders In Tirana

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Western Balkans leaders on September 13th and 14th, to discuss regional co-operation and European Integration.

Merkel will initially meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade on Monday, September 13th, followed by a press conference after the meeting.

The next day, Merkel will travel to Tirana to meet Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and discuss bilateral relations between Albania and Germany, and Albania’s EU accession negotiation, according to the German Embassy in Tirana.

On the same day, September 14th, Merkel will meet in Tirana the heads of government of Northern Macedonia, Bosnian Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo, focusing mainly on regional cooperation.  Serbian President Vučić will not be present at this meeting.

The arrival of the German Chancellor comes at a time when Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia have joined forces to create the “Open Balkan” initiative, previously known as the Mini Schengen. The initiative, however, has been opposed by Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro.

The German government has supported the creation of a Common Regional Market in the Balkans, but recently avoided referring directly to the  “Open Balkan” initiative. Instead, it has implied that its priority is the implementation of inclusive agreements under the Berlin Process, where all six Western Balkan countries will be represented equally. 

Other sources in Brussels have reiterated the EU’s position that regional cooperation is always welcome, but in the case of the “Open Balkan” initiative, the project remains inadequate, as long as it is limited only to Albania, Serbia, and North Macedonia.

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