With Donald Trump’s actions dominating the agenda, a charm offensive for Balkan leaders did not go to plan

It was a bit of a squeeze at the EU summit last week in Sofia’s National Palace of Culture, an imposing communist relic. Six prime ministers from the west Balkan states and their entourages filled its vast hallways and stairwells, between tetchy meetings with EU leaders and even tetchier media performances.

The western Balkans summit was supposed to be an EU charm offensive, designed to capture the hearts of the leaders of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo. But the EU’s leaders were demonstrably distracted. From the start, Donald Trump had hijacked this summit.

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