Eu Leaders To Woo West Balkan States But Road To Membership Bumpy


SOFIA – When EU leaders pose for a “family picture” with counterparts from six western Balkan nations hoping to join the bloc, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will stay away in protest – highlighting how long and hard their road to membership is likely to be.

Thursday’s summit, the first such meeting in 15 years, is meant to demonstrate the European Union’s renewed commitment to a region that remains fragile two decades after the ethnic wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia.

Spain does not even recognize the independence of Kosovo, which will attend the Sofia summit along with Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia, and EU governments also worry about a string of other problems afflicting the region.

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