SOFIA – The European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations said he was confident that a deal could be struck between Serbia and Kosovo at the start of an informal meeting on Thursday in Sofia between leaders of the European Union and the Western Balkan states.
It is the first of its kind in 15 years that EU leaders will meet collectively with their counterparts from the Western Balkans, which include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo.
“I am confident there will be a solution,” Johannes Hahn told reporters during arrivals at the National Palace of Culture in the Bulgarian capital.
“It serves in the interest of Kosovo to work on a solution, on a legally binding agreement,” the Commissioner added.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which the latter has rejected. The EU has facilitated a dialogue to normalize relations between the two countries in the years since.
“As I said before, I am confident that there will be a solution. When? They have to decide that for themselves,” Hahn said.
The summit was held in Sofia, as Bulgaria currently holds the rotating six-month presidency of the European Council.
European Council President Donald Tusk said on the eve of the summit that the meeting was an “opportunity for both sides to reaffirm that the European perspective remains the Western Balkans’ geostrategic choice.”
“I hope to bring our Western Balkan friends closer to the EU,” Tusk said.