Balkan leaders look to bolster Serbia’s EU bid

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said Saturday that her country, which is about to take over the rotating presidency of the European Union, will be looking to bolster Serbia’s bid to join the European Union.

Dancila was speaking after meeting with other Balkan leaders from Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia in the Serbian capital of Belgrade Saturday as part of a regular regional initiative to foster cooperation on an array of issues such as migration and trade.

Serbia is looking to join the other three countries in the EU.

Romania takes over the EU’s presidency on Jan. 1. for six months and in that capacity has a fair degree of leeway in setting the agenda.

“Romania is supporting the European pathway for Serbia,” said Dancila, adding that she has invited Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic to visit Bucharest in order to help “increase visibility” of the country’s progress.

“We all have to involve ourselves in supporting Serbia,” said Dancila. “We should continue proper level of support for the Western Balkan countries and we should be supporting the enlargement process which for us represents general priority.”

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic also said agreement was reached to form a commission to prepare a joint bid to host soccer’s European Championship in 2028 or the World Cup in 2030.