Urusla von der Leyen on charm tour in the Balkans

Urusla von der Leyen on charm tour in the Balkans

There are promises of prosperity on the Serbian leg of the European Commission President's Balkan charm tour. Ursula von der Leyen met with Serbian President Aleksander Vucic in Belgrade. Troubled relations with Kosovo were on the agenda, along with energy.

After visiting the construction site of the Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnector, von der Leyen spoke of going further.

"What we want to see is not only gas flowing from Bulgaria to Serbia but this project will be one step further to bring us closer to each other," explained von der Leyen. "It will open Serbia's gas market for diversification. It will improve Serbia's energy security."

The work, which is part of the EU's energy diversification efforts, should be completed within one year.

Before traveling to Serbia, von der Leyen was in Bosnia and Herzegovina, another country that has been waiting for many years to join the European Union.

She called on Bosnian authorities to take advantage of the EU membership bid to overcome the divisions between Muslims, Croats and Serbs.

Von der Leyen also recalled that the EU is earmarking a package of €500 million for new energy sources in a region that has been a traditional focus of instability and is under the strong influence of Russia and China