The European Union on Thursday reaffirmed its unequivocal support for the Western Balkans region at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia.
In a declaration, EU leaders and member states agreed that the bloc welcomes the shared commitment of the Western Balkans partners to European values and principles, and to the vision of a strong, stable and united Europe.
"The EU supports the Western Balkans partners' pledge to continue strengthening good neighborly relations, regional stability and mutual cooperation.
“This includes in particular finding and implementing definitive, inclusive and binding solutions for their bilateral disputes rooted in the legacy of the past and devoting additional efforts to reconciliation," it said.
The declaration also stipulates that building a network of ties and opportunities with the EU and the region is crucial for bringing citizens and economies together, as well as for strengthening political stability, economic prosperity, cultural and social development.
The EU agrees with the encouragement of a favorable market and investment environment in the Western Balkans in order to move faster towards a digital economy and climate-friendly societies in line with the Paris Agreement.
The declaration also mentioned a number of security challenges that require coordinated and collective action, as required by the fight against terrorism.
European Union and Western Balkans leaders met in Sofia Thursday for their first summit in 15 years, focusing on European integration, as well as closer cooperation in the region.
The summit was attended by leaders from the Western Balkans -- Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo, none of them EU members -- as well as heads of state and government of member states and top EU officials.
The summit began with a plenary session on connectivity, followed by a working lunch.