Brdo-Brijuni summit adopts joint statement at Brdo
Brdo pri Kranju, 17 May - Having gathered for a summit at Brdo pri Kranju on Monday, the leaders of the Brdo-Brijuni Process adopted a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to EU enlargement, but failed to reach a consensus to call against changes to borders in the region due to Serbia's opposition.
Slovenian President Borut Pahor said the summit, marking the 10th anniversary of the initiative, was one of the hardest, but managed to reach a consensus.
"It's not an empty compromise. It sends out a powerful message," Pahor said as he addressed reporters after the meeting at Brdo estate.
The statement calls on the EU to see the Western Balkan region as a whole rather than as individual countries negotiating with the European Commission, said Pahor.
The leaders moreover emphasize that the bloc's enlargement to the whole Western Balkan region is in the EU's political, security and economic interests, as well as a geopolitical urgency and a key political condition for a stable, successful and sustainable European future.
They see enlargement as a mutual process - on the one hand the EU must speed up the process while on the other Western Balkan countries must speed up reforms.
Due to opposition by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, the statement does not include a commitment to keep borders in the region intact, even though, as Pahor said, all the initiative's leaders are opposed to changes to borders.
Apart from Pahor and his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanović, the meeting was attended by the leaders of Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia and the presiding trio of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Vučić told reporters in a statement earlier the key thing was there was a consensus for the European path to continue for the whole region.
"We have backed the intentions, wishes and demands of others in the Western Balkans to set a date of visa liberalisation talks," said Vučić.
He said there were many things at the meeting they did not agree on, including the issue of changes to borders. He said some interpreted border changes in two different ways, whichever way they liked, while Serbia believed they should not be changed beyond the rules.
He said Serbia had always advocated the integrity of borders as recognised by the UN. "This initiative of ours hasn't been adopted, while we're happy with the rest of the wording," he said as quoted by the Serbian press agency Tanjug, adding that some had demanded much more and were very unhappy.