(ANSA) - TRIESTE - "Friuli Venezia Giulia is the gateway to the western Balkans: every euro spent on cross-border projects and for the enlargement of the EU towards the East is an investment in favour of our region". That is what MEP Isabella De Monte (Democratic Party) said in Brussels, during her speech at the meeting "Future opportunities for the European Union and the Western Balkans", organized by the same MEP. "We will fight by any means - De Monte said - to avoid cuts in the Interreg cross-border programme, which is crucial to the FVG Region". Today, she added, "we strengthened a sort of Italy-Slovenia alliance to save the funds, and to safeguard this axis I presented some amendments to the text of the EU Commission in the Transport Committee, asking Slovenian MEPs Alojz Peterle and Ivo Vajg to support and share the action". These amendments, she said "will soon be examined by the committee which takes charge of the issue, the European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development (REGI), I'm hoping with a positive outcome". "Europe must find unity when looking to the Western Balkans, otherwise the region risks falling into the sphere of exclusive interest of other countries, such as Russia, China, Serbia and the Arab Emirates". The budget proposed for the pre-accession assistance instrument in the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027, De Monte said, "is 14.5bn, an ambitious amount exceeding the current 11.7bn". (ANSA).