Tag Archives: Zagreb

EU committed to Western Balkans

Initially foreseen to happen in the capital of Croatia, the EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit has taken place on 6 May 2020 via video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EU is the most important partner of the Western Balkans region and the video conference has underlined the significance of the unique EU-Western Balkans relations. The summit has provided an opportunity to highlight mutual solidarity and cooperation in these time of pandemic crisis. Partners in the region have contributed to help EU member states while the European Union has mobilised over €3.3 billion to help Western Balkans deal with the coronavirus outbreak consequences.

“We, the leaders of the European Union (EU) and its Member States, in consultation with Western Balkans leaders, and in the presence of regional and international stakeholders, today reiterate our strong solidarity with our partners in the context of the coronavirus crisis. In these unprecedented times, we have concluded the following:

“Recalling the 2000 Zagreb, the 2003 Thessaloniki and the 2018 Sofia Summits, the EU once again reaffirms its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans. The Western Balkans partners reiterated their commitment to the European perspective as their firm strategic choice. The credibility of this commitment depends also on clear public communication and the implementation of the necessary reforms”

“Summed up in Zagreb declaration, confirming European perspective for the Western Balkans and solidarity in the face of COVID-19 pandemic. Strong and important signal for the region. The European Commission will deliver robust economic & investment plan” the Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said.

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament welcomes the Zagreb declaration agreed today during EU – Western Balkans summit by the heads of state and government from EU Member States and the leaders of the six Western Balkans partners. The summit, which was supposed to be held in Zagreb, took place by video conference shortly after the EU mobilised a financial package of over EUR 3.3 billion for the Western Balkans in order to support the region in tackling COVID-19 and sustain the post-pandemic recovery.

President of the Renew Europe Group, Dacian Cioloş (PLUS, Romania), said:

The long-awaited summit is a clear confirmation that Western Balkan countries belong to the European family and that enlargement continues to be high on European Union’s agenda.

The meeting held today reconfirms the two-way commitment of the enlargement process: on one hand, the EU’s determination to further intensify its engagement at all levels to support the region’s political, economic and social transformation and on the other hand, the pledge of the Western Balkans to uphold European values and principles and to carry out the necessary reforms. The revised accession methodology will facilitate this two-way commitment and ensure concrete benefits faster for citizens of both sides.

The COVID-19 crisis brought to the strong need for solidarity and mutual support inside the European Union and with our neighbours and partners. Since the beginning of the crisis the EU ensured significant support for the Western Balkan countries and will continue to do so, proving to be the most helpful and reliable partner of the region.”

MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk (Movement for Rights and Freedom, Bulgaria), Renew Europe Vice-Coordinator of the Foreign Affairs Committee and EP standing rapporteur on North Macedonia, added:

“I welcome the Western Balkans summit and its conclusions. The decision to provide over €3.3 billion of EU financial support for the Western Balkan countries to fight COVID-19 is crucial and will help the region to overcome the health crisis. Despite the difficult times, Europe has once again shown that it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its Western Balkans partners and reaffirmed its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the region. After the European Council agreed in March to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, we have to continue backing the Western Balkans with the reforms needed on their EU path because their future lies in European Union. Our political, economic and social engagement and the expression of solidarity are a driving force of integration and demonstrate that EU enlargement can be a success story.”

Polish Tusk endorsed for EPP leadership

The European People’s Party (EPP) Congress has overwhelmingly voted Polish politician Donald Tusk as the EPP President with 491 in favour (93%) and 37 against. His mandate will start on 1 December 2019.

“Dear Joseph, it will be very difficult to replace you, you did an excellent job. You gave us all a feeling of safety and a meaning to our actions. You were a true leader of our community” Tusk said, addressing the incumbent EPP leader French Joseph Daul.

“Let me also thank you for your trust. It was you, who more than a year ago, came to me with the suggestion that I become your successor, and you took such good care of this idea that I am the only candidate. This is another example of your extraordinary effectiveness, Joseph, thank you. And so, here I am, at your disposal” Tusk added.

He succeeds French Joseph Daul after his two mandates as EPP President.

“Under no circumstances can we give away the sphere of security and order to political populists, manipulators and autocrats, who lead people to believe that freedom cannot be reconciled with security. That protecting our borders and territory cannot be reconciled with liberal democracy, and an effective governance with the rule of law” Tusk declared.

https://twitter.com/vonderleyen/status/1197414900244582401?s=21

Biography of Donald Tusk published by EPP:

Donald Tusk was born in 1957 in Gdańsk, Poland. In 1976 he started studying history at the University of Gdańsk, where he got involved in illegal activities against the Communist regime.

In the 1980s he was an activist in the underground Solidarity movement. In 1980 he founded the Independent Students’ Association (NZS), part of Solidarity. In 1983 he launched the Political Review, a monthly that promoted economic liberalism and democracy. An informal think-tank supporting Lech Wałęsa was centred around the periodical.
After the fall of communism the think-tank members known as the Gdańsk Liberals formed a government following the first free presidential elections in Poland. They also founded the Liberal Democratic Congress, with Tusk as its leader.
In the 1990s Tusk served as an MP and deputy Speaker of the Senate. He also published books on the history of Gdańsk.
In 2001 he was one of the initiators of the centrist Civic Platform party, which he led from 2003. Tusk was Prime Minister from 2007-2014, making him the longest-serving premier in democratic Poland, and the first to be reelected.
Donald Tusk was elected President of the European Council in 2014, reelected for a second term

Zagreb: Tusk longing for «order & harmony» 

“In times of uncertainty, and most probably there will be no other times, when everything changes around us, and runs off in all directions, people want to be certain, that those in power will not abandon them, that they will not turn their backs on them. When left alone, they start looking for those, who offer care and concentration on their problems. They desire attention. “Look at us” – they seem to say – “we are here”. They, or should I say, we all are hungry for appreciation, dignity and importance, and we all feel the need to be part of a bigger community. And to be proud of it. This is why it is so easy to win people’s hearts by those who shout in a loud voice: “get up off your knees, make your country great again, take back control”. In other words, those who strike the right chord, the chord of dignity, will get people’s votes.” said Donald Tusk in his speech at European Peoples Party Summit in Zagreb.

https://twitter.com/eucopresident/status/1194714921990328321?s=21

 “In a political fight, truth and decency cannot be completely helpless against fake news, manipulation and hate. You must believe in yourselves and the power of your arguments. Do not be afraid to say in public what you really feel (even if you may sometimes think it’s a dangerous experiment), and  you will surely evoke people’s emotions and capture their attention” he added.

Congratulations, dear Donald Tusk, on your election as President of the EPP. Throughout your career you have given much to the EU project and I am sure that you will continue to serve a united Europe – one that is firmly based on democracy, the rule of law and social justice” wrote the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, reacting upond EPP decision of endorsing Tusk as leader.