Merkel To Visit Serbia On Farewell Trip To Balkans

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to travel to Belgrade on September 13 to discuss political and economic cooperation and the EU integration process with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
The next day, Merkel will head to neighboring Albania, where a meeting is planned with the prime ministers of the six Western Balkan states that are not members of the EU -- Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. The German government has said the talks would focus on regional cooperation. After 16 years at the height of European politics, Merkel will retire at the end of her fourth term as chancellor following German elections on September 26. During a meeting with Vucic last week, the German ambassador to Belgrade, Thomas Schieb, said that Merkel's Balkan visit is sending a strong signal that Serbia and the region remain high on Berlin’s agenda. Vucic called Merkel's trip “a great honor for Serbia, and a chance to thank her for everything she had done for Serbia and the region during her long and successful term in office.” The launch of the so-called Berlin Process by Merkel in 2014 to promote greater regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and European integration “created a different atmosphere and new opportunities for cooperation in the Western Balkans, making the region more peaceful and stable,” the Serbian president said.

Based on reporting by dpa and Euractiv

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