PES welcomes historic milestone for the Western Balkans and its future in Europe

06/05/2020 - Socialists and Democrats from the EU and the region held an online summit ahead of the European Council videoconference

PES Western Balkans pre-summit

Leaders taking part in the PES Western Balkans pre-summit

The Party of European Socialists (PES) today strongly welcomes the EU’s show of support for a European future for the Western Balkans. The EU-Western Balkans summit is a milestone on a historic journey towards EU membership for countries in the region.

Ahead of the EU summit, the PES held an online meeting with the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament (S&D), representatives from the EU institutions, and leaders and high-level representatives of the sister parties from the Western Balkans. Socialists and democrats have supported fellow progressives in the region as they have worked tirelessly to achieve a future in Europe.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“Today’s progressive pre-summit meeting with our sister parties was an opportunity for our family to take stock of the progress that has been made and to signal, once again, our support for this process.

“Western Balkans countries stand at this milestone because of the hard work and dedication of leaders like Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and former Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev. Only through their efforts have we reached this point. Albania and North Macedonia have undertaken tough and necessary reforms and have shown their commitment to European ideals time and time again.

Edi Rama and Sergei Stanishev

Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, and PES President Sergei Stanishev

“It is very welcome that the EU is now showing its commitment, after some hesitation earlier this year from some Member States. For the European progressive political family it is clear, the Western Balkans deserve the chance of a European future.”

The progressive political family has long supported a European future for the Western Balkans, welcoming the green light for accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia earlier this year. Ahead of the EU-Western Balkan summit, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament also adopted a declaration of support.

The PES pre-summit meeting was attended by:

Sergei Stanishev, PES President
Iratxe Garcia-Perez, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament

Josep Borrell, EU High Representative
David Sassoli, European Parliament President

Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania and Leader of the Socialist Party of Albania
Milo Dukanovic, President of Montenegro, Leader of the Democratic party
Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic, former EU Minister, Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro
Draginja Vuksanovic, Leader of the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro
Zoran Zaev, former Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia
Nermin Nikšić, former Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Leader of the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Albin Kurti, Prime Minister of Kosovo, Leader of Levizja Vetevendosje
Dejan Nikolic, Vice-President of the Serbian Democratic Party
Dragan Djilas, leader of the Party of Freedom and Justice
Fofi Genninmata, Leader of PASOK, Greece
Alexis Tsipras, former PM of Greece, Leader of SYRIZA party

Kati Piri, MEP and Vice-President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament
Tonino Picula, MEP and AFET Coordinator and Montenegro Rapporteur
Tanja Fajon, MEP and Chair of the Serbia Delegation
Andreas Schieder, MEP and Chair of the North Macedonia Delegation
Isabel Santos, MEP and Albania Rapporteur