Rejuvenating a vision

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Moldovan President Maia Sandu, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Montenegro's President Jakov Milatovic, Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu, Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Chairwoman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Borjana Kristo, North Macedonia's Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic pose for a family photo outside the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, on August 21. [Stelios Misinas/Reuters]

The recent gathering of Western Balkan leaders along with top European Union officials in Athens, following an invitation from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (on the 20th anniversary of a summit between the EU and Western Balkan countries in the northern port city of Thessaloniki) was naturally overshadowed by the previously unannounced presence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

If there was any gain for the attendees of the dinner in the Greek capital, it was the revival of the aspirations of Western Balkan countries (Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), who have been in the waiting room awaiting their integration into the European family at an uncertain point in the future.

The reality is that over time, the initial enthusiasm waned, and European partners are trying to keep the hope alive through meetings...

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