FRANCE BALKANS SUMMIT DIPLOMACY.jpg
Photograph: EPA/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / POOL MAXPPP OUT

Leaders of six EU member states and six western Balkan countries gathered in Paris on Monday for the 3rd Summit of the Berlin Process launched two years ago to help Southeast European countries draw closer to the European Union through concrete regional cooperation projects.

The summit in Paris is the continuation of the process that started on 28 August 2014 in Berlin and continued a year later in Vienna (August 27, 2015). Five editions of the summit are scheduled to be held before 2018.

The Berlin Process is the continuation of the Brdo-Brijuni Process launched by Croatia and Slovenia in 2013.

The summit in Paris is being attended by delegations of 12 countries -- six EU members (Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, France, Italy and Austria) and six western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia).

Croatia's delegation is led by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic. The delegation also includes Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac and Economy Minister Tomislav Panenic.

During the summit, members of the six western Balkan countries are expected to sign a treaty on establishing a Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) of the Western Balkans aimed at promoting the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between the youth in the region. The Office will be headquartered in Tirana and half of its budget will be financed by the six country signatories to the treaty, while the other half will be financed by international financial institutions and the European Commission.

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