Italian minister wants EU to affirm support for Balkans

AP News
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Posted: Mar 14, 2017 11:51 AM

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Italy's foreign minister is urging the European Union to send a strong message of commitment to western Balkan countries to help counter the nationalist rhetoric of some leaders in the region.

Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano on Tuesday was in Albania as part of preparations for a summit of some EU and western Balkan nations to be held in Trieste, Italy on July 12.

Launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel four years ago, the so-called Berlin process each year gives leaders in the western Balkans a chance to discuss joint projects or platforms with help from the EU.

Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Kosovo are at different stages of being integrated into the bloc.

Domestic politics and tense relations in the region have been obstacles in the process.