Brexit. The British government will host a summit encouraging six European countries to join the EU for the sake of their “security, stability and prosperity”
BREXIT. UK government to host summit on why other countries should join the EU. The British government will host a summit encouraging six European countries to join the EU for the sake of their “security, stability and prosperity”, months before it is due to sign its own Brexit withdrawal deal with Brussels.
London will in July play host to Western Balkans governments including Serbia and Albania, as well as existing EU member states, to discuss reforms to pave the way to future EU enlargement.
The summit is part of the so-called Berlin Process – a series of meetings aimed at supporting the region towards joining the bloc and described by the European parliament’s research arm as “bringing a new perspective and impetus to the enlargement process”.
Critics said the UK government must have “a sense of humour” for hosting a conference on EU enlargement and extolling the benefits of accession as Britain itself headed towards the exit door.
The leaders of EU candidate countries Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Serbia will attend, as well as those of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo – two states who have both expressed an interest in joining the bloc but have not yet been accepted as candidates.
They will be joined by representatives of the governments of EU countries with an interest in the region such as Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Bulgaria.
Asked about the summit and the UK’s position on the Western Balkans’ membership of the EU, a Foreign Office spokesperson told The Independent: “We remain of the view that the EU accession process is important to delivering security, stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans.
We remain of the view that the EU accession process is important to delivering security, stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans
Foreign Office spokesperson
“As and when candidate countries have met the requirements for accession in full, it will be for those countries and European Union members at the time to decide on membership.”
Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrats’ Brexit spokesperson and a supporter of the Best for Britain campaign, said: “Someone at the Foreign Office must have a sense of humour in organising a conference to promote membership of the EU for the Western Balkan countries. Just as we seem set on leaving the EU, we start advising others to join. Government policy would not look out of place in the theatre of the absurd.”