European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, High Representative Federica Mogherini, and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn will visit six Western Balkan countries next week in an effort to shore up support for the EU’s new flagship initiatives for the region.
The trio will first visit FYROM’s capital Skopje and Tirana, Albania on Sunday, before moving on to Belgrade, Podgorica, Sarajevo, and Pristina before concluding their whistle-stop tour in Sofia to attend a working lunch with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and the leaders of the Western Balkan nations.
The three plan to discuss the new EU enlargement strategy to the Western Balkans and present six new flagship initiatives that set out the EU’s support for the transformation process in the region.
The Commission plans to utilise its existing tools, including detailed action plans, to help assess the reform implementation process and to deploy new advisory missions for areas that include issues concerning the rule of law, security and migration, socio-economic development and reconciliation.
The Commission plans to propose a gradual increase in funding under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance until 2020. This year alone, €1.07 billion of pre-accession assistance will be provided to the Western Balkans is already foreseen, a massive increase from the €9 billion that was given over an entire decade from 2007-2017.