02:24 GMT +316 July 2018
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    Britain's Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Alan Duncan, right, greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel outside Lancaster House in London, during the second day of the Western Balkans summit, Tuesday July 10, 2018.

    W. Balkans Summit: Stood Up by Boris, Hosted by EU Leavers, Criticized by Brits

    © AP Photo / Stefan Rousseau
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    Senior officials from Balkan nations have literally walked in on the UK government in the middle of a political meltdown.

    As European politicians gathered in London on July 9, expecting to be greeted by the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, they were kept waiting for their host.

    The German Foreign Minister tweeted: "We're still waiting for our host," prompting users online to apologize for Mr. Johnson's absence, as he resigned from his post and failed to welcome the Summit guests. 

    The UK government saw two of its senior ministers, including former Brexit Minister David Davis and former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, resign over the government's Brexit plan. The chaotic developments in the UK Cabinet coincided with the arrival of the Western Balkan Summit participants to London. 

    The high profile guest list of the Summit includes the Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic and European figures from outside the region, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

    'Are You Insane?

    Former Foreign Minister Johnson was meant to announce UK's commitment of £10 million to help build digital skills and employment prospects for young people in the Western Balkans. Instead, the UK Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Sir Alan Duncan, confirmed the pledge, which received mixed reactions from online commentators.

    Addressing the Summit, Sir Alan said the goal is putting young people at the heart of policy planning.

    "We want to look at tackling those factors that are casing talented people to leave, including corruption; and we want to enhance economic opportunity, particularly in the digital area and hence motivate people to stay," the UK minister said

    According to the UK Foreign Office, Britain wants a strong, stable and prosperous Western Balkans region and by hosting the Western Balkan Summit, London shows "continued interest and involvement in the stability of the region." 

    Part of the so-called Berlin Process, which aims to facilitate the region's integration in the European Union, the Summit saw officials from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia travel to London.

    Launched in 2014 by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Berlin Process is linked to the enlargement of European Union. Meanwhile, Britain, the Summit's host, is leaving the EU, having decided it would be better off outside the bloc. 

    Related:

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    Tags:
    Western Balkans Summit, United Kingdom, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia
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