Von der Leyen: EU must send clear message of hope to Western Balkans

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that leaders should send a positive message to the six Western Balkan nations hoping to join the European Union, despite stalled negotiations. “We want to send a very clear message, and that message is that Western Balkans belong in the European Union,” the German politician told reporters. The countries had come “a long way” in making reforms, she said, though work still needed to be done on the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and media freedom. With accession bids effectively frozen, one offering from Wednesd…

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