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Germany's Scholz heads to Western Balkan summit

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and other leaders, are meeting in the Albanian capital for talks on several countries' EU accession. It's the first time such a summit has been held in the region.

Germany's Scholz heads to Western Balkan summit
Germany's Scholz heads to Western Balkan summit

The German chancellor is traveling to the Albanian capital, Tirana, on Monday, where he is due to attend a summit of Western Balkan countries.

Olaf Scholz is accompanying European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other leaders to work on a path to membership for the six countries of the region.

What's on the agenda?

The two leaders are due to hold talks with the heads of states and governments of Balkan countries including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

It is not yet clear, however, whether Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will join.

The summit comes under the auspices of the Berlin Process, launched in 2014 to advance the Western Balkan states' accession to the EU. The process was initiated by Angela Merkel when she was German chancellor but it is the first time the summit has taken place in the region itself.

The 2003 European Council summit in the Greek city of Thessaloniki set the integration of the Western Balkans as a priority of EU expansion.

"It is quite clear that 20 years after the accession of these countries was promised, it must also happen soon," Scholz said on Monday in the Albanian capital Tirana.

Scholz has previously made repeated speeches calling for the process to be accelerated.

"Our doors are open," said von der Leyen, adding: "More needs to be done."

The leaders will be joined by European Council President Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

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