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article imageUK pledges funds for Balkans at London summit

By AFP     Jul 10, 2018 in Politics

With EU and Western Balkan leaders gathered in London for a summit aimed at boosting economic and security cooperation, Britain pledged increased funding to fight organised crime, drug trafficking and terrorism in the region.

"History shows that a stable and secure Western Balkans region means a more stable and secure Europe," British Prime Minister Theresa May said ahead of Tuesday's talks.

"We are leaving the EU next March, but we remain fully committed to improving the prosperity and security of the Western Balkans, and Europe, both now and in the years to come," said May, who is facing political turmoil following two high-profile resignations in her cabinet.

May was to hold a press conference following the summit at 1620 GMT alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

The summit brings together representatives of six Western Balkans nations -- Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia -- as well as Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Poland.

It is part of the Berlin Process, a diplomatic initiative which began in 2014.

The summit opened on Monday with a meeting of foreign ministers and the notable absence of Britain's Boris Johnson, who resigned in protest at May's Brexit plan.

Ahead of the second day of the meetings, May announced a doubling of British financial help to reinforce the fight against organised crime, drug trafficking and terrorism.

The aid will rise to £80 million (90.4 million euros, $106 million) in 2020-2021, she said.

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