President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen said in her first State of the Union speech on Sept. 16 that the future of the Western Balkans lay in the European Union (EU).
„We share the same history and the same destiny, the Western Balkans are not just a stopover on the Silk Road,“ she said before the European Parliament, promising that the Commission would unveil a plan to revitalize the region.
It’s an economic and investment deal for the region worth over a billion euros, heralded ahead of the EU-Western Balkans summit held early in May in Zagreb, Croatia. The EC president also described as historical a decision to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.
Von der Leyen also spoke about green growth in Europe, strategies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fight the coronavirus pandemic, solidarity and the role of the Union as a geopolitical actor.