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EU reaffirms unequivocal support for European aspirations of Western Balkans
BY 2018-05-18 07:18:33

SOFIA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) on Thursday in a special declaration adopted at the EU-Western Balkans summit reaffirmed its unequivocal support for the European aspirations of the Western Balkans.

The declaration was adopted by the leaders of the EU and of its member states, in consultation with their Western Balkans partners, and in the presence of relevant regional stakeholders, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU said on its website.

"The EU welcomes the shared commitment of the Western Balkans partners to European values and principles, and to the vision of a strong, stable and united Europe, underpinned by our historic, cultural and geographic ties and by our mutual political, security and economic interests," the declaration said.

"The EU reaffirms its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans. Building on the progress achieved so far, the Western Balkans partners have recommitted to the European perspective as their firm strategic choice, to reinforcing their efforts and mutual support," it added.

The credibility of these efforts depends on clear public communication, the declaration said.

The statement said the EU is determined to strengthen and intensify its engagement at all levels to support the region's political, economic and social transformation, including through increased assistance based on tangible progress in the rule of law, as well as in socio-economic reforms, by the Western Balkans partners.

The EU supports the Western Balkans partners pledge to continue strengthening good neighborly relations, regional stability and mutual cooperation, it said.

"Our cooperation in stemming illegal migration flows has demonstrated its value and will be developed further. Countering terrorism and extremism, including financing, radicalization and the return of foreign terrorist fighters require our increased cooperation," it said.

EU and the Western Balkans partners acknowledge that results in fighting corruption and organized crime are essential for the region's political and socio-economic transformation and also for regional stability and security, which are in the best interest of their citizens, the declaration said.

"The EU welcomes their commitment to take resolute action, in cooperation with the EU and with each other, against human trafficking, drug cultivation, and smuggling of human beings, drugs and arms," it said.

Providing a tangible European perspective for the Western Balkans is one of Bulgaria's priorities during the country's six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the EU. 

(Editor:Li Zhaoqi) (From:xinhua)
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