Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, February 15th, 2019

EU Meets Balkan Leaders under Shadow of Trump

EU Meets Balkan Leaders  under Shadow of Trump

BRUSSELS - EU leaders will seek to boost ties with the Balkans at a summit next week, but it looks set to be overshadowed by the rift with US President Donald Trump over the Iran nuclear deal. The meeting of European leaders with six Balkan counterparts on Thursday in Bulgaria comes as Brussels tries to counter growing Russian influence in the region with promises of eventual membership of the EU. However Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran accord, together with threatened trade tariffs which have also strained transatlantic ties, will dominate a dinner of the EU leaders on the eve of the summit on Wednesday.
“Policies of @realDonaldTrump on #IranDeal and trade will meet a united European approach. EU leaders will tackle both issues at the summit in Sofia next week,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted. For all the urgency over Europe’s attempts to save the Iran deal, arguably the so-called Western Balkans summit in Sofia is at least as important for the troubled bloc’s own future. The six Balkan nations -- Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia -- are getting impatient to join after the EU put expansion on hold four years ago.
The European Commission recently unveiled its new strategy for the region which aims to give membership to some states by 2025 -- the frontrunners to join are Montenegro and Serbia -- in return for reforms. (AFP)