Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders in Brdo pri Kranju on 5-6 October 2021

Briefing 13-10-2021

The EU leaders met on 5 October 2021 in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, to discuss informally the Union's role in the world over a working dinner. The meeting was coupled with an EU-Western Balkan Summit the next day. The focus at the dinner was on security and defence in the context of the 'Strategic Compass' process, to be finalised by March 2022, with EU leaders agreeing to continue deepening defence cooperation, not least by strengthening the alliance with NATO. The leaders also confirmed their 2019-2024 strategic agenda commitment to strengthen the EU's capacity to 'act autonomously', albeit without agreeing on the modalities. Building unity was central to this preparatory summit. Migration and energy were also raised briefly, but will be addressed in greater detail at future meetings. The EU-Western Balkans Summit on 6 October highlighted the strategic importance of the region for the Union. The focus was on the common commitment to socio-economic recovery and the development of the Western Balkans in the post-pandemic phase, with €30 billion mobilised for investment as part of the economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans. EU leaders also focused on ways to strengthen political dialogue and security cooperation. The 'Brdo Declaration' reaffirmed the region's European perspective and the EU's commitment to enlargement, with the caveats of 'credible reforms', 'rigorous conditionality' and that the assessment of individual countries' progress on the basis of the 'principle of own merits'.