President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen pointed out at a virtual summit on the Berlin Process, late on July 5, that the EU's "first priority is to accelerate the enlargement agenda across the region and support our Western Balkan partners in their work to deliver on the necessary reforms to advance on their European path."
"But our engagement with the Western Balkans goes beyond that, and the Berlin Process has served as an incubator for many initiatives that have now become an integral part of the EU's policy vis-à-vis the region. Together we have set the course for a more sustainable, more digital and more resilient Europe," Von der Leyen said.
The EU's enlargement commissioner, Oliver Varhelyi, underscored that eliminating socio-economic differences between the Western Balkans and the EU was crucial for the enlargement process.
"We are bringing significant investment opportunities to the region through the Economic and Investment Plan. Now it is for the region to use them well by harnessing its full economic potential and establishing a Common Regional Market based on EU rules," said Varhelyi.
The summit focused on the region's progress in economic integration under the Common Regional Market action plan from the 2020 Sofia Summit, and on implementing the Economic and Investment Plan adopted by the European Commission last fall.