FRANCE EU WESTERN BALKAN DIPLOMACY.jpg
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (C) speaks to media after a meeting for preparation the summit in Paris between Western Balkan and EU countries, in Paris, France, 24 May 2016.
Photograph: EPA/JEREMY LEMPIN

The leaders of six European Union and six Western Balkan countries will meet in Paris on Monday for the 3rd Berlin Process summit, which was launched two years ago so that countries in Southeast Europe could draw closet to EU membership through regional cooperation.

The first summit was held in Berlin on 28 August 2014 and the second in Vienna on 27 August 2015. Five summits are planned by 2018 as part of the Berlin Process, which is the continuation of the Brdo-Brijuni Process launched by Croatia and Slovenia in 2013.

Twelve delegations will meet in Paris, six from EU member states Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, France, Italy and Austria, and six from the Western Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.

The Croatian delegation will be led by caretaker Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, who will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Miro Kovac and Economy Minister Tomislav Panenic.

The summit will discuss the progress achieved in connecting the transport and energy infrastructure in the Western Balkans to encourage economic cooperation, and in youth initiatives to increase their mobility in the region and the EU. The summit will also discuss the European prospects of the countries in Southeast Europe and the challenges ahead of them and the EU in the context of the refugee crisis, the fight against terrorism and radicalisation.

The six Western Balkan countries will sign an agreement on the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, which will be based in Tirana.

The economy and foreign ministers will hold separate meetings. Economy ministers will also take part in a forum on investments and doing business.

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