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Theresa May meets Angela Merkel amid ongoing Tory discord over Brexit plan

They were among leaders who gathered in London for the second day of the Western Balkans Summit on Tuesday.

Theresa May has met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders amid disunity in her Government over Brexit.

They were among leaders who gathered in London for the second day of the Western Balkans Summit on Tuesday to discuss how to develop the region, whose members are keen to join the European Union at the same time Britain is preparing to leave.

Mrs May had announced a doubling of funding for the region from £41 million in 2018/2019 to £80 million in 2020/2021 ahead of the fifth annual summit, which focused on issues including corruption, organised crime and economic stability.

The money will be targeted at regional “security challenges”, particularly those around organised crime and drug smuggling, which have an impact in turn on the UK, Downing Street said.

Mrs May told the assembled leaders that the Western Balkans was “a region anchored to European democratic values and the rules-based international system” and “one that contributes to European security, stability and prosperity”.

Others who attended included the leaders of the six Western Balkan nations, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo, as well as Mrs Merkel and Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson had been due to attend the first day of the summit on Monday but resigned at the time he was due to be there.

Mrs May posed for photographs with Northern Macedonia president Zoran Zaev and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras, who recently completed a deal to end a row over the former country’s name, which is also claimed by an area of Greece.

The Prime Minister had been urged to help Macedonia join the European Union during a visit to Skopje in May.

Mr Zaev asked Mrs May to help it achieve a “Euro-Atlantic future” as she became the first British premier to visit the Balkan country in almost two decades.

Press Association

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