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5 takeaways from EU’s big Balkan get-together

Politico EU

SOFIA - It wasn’t a renewal of the wedding vows because the big ceremony never happened. It was two partners declaring they still want to be engaged — even though one is now playing hard to get.

Fifteen years ago, EU leaders told their western Balkan counterparts at a summit in Thessaloniki that they belong together — and their countries could one day join the European Union. But only one of those countries, Croatia, has become an EU member while the others languish.

Now, alarmed by the rising influence of Russia, Turkey and others on its southern flank, the EU has put the region back on the agenda and staged a summit in the Bulgarian capital on Thursday to try to get relations with six western Balkan countries back on track.


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