The Slovenia Times

Commissioner Hahn Supports Political Enlargement to W Balkans


Hahn said that Pahor was right to underscore the importance of keeping more focus on the process instead of just enlargement negotiations.

Negotiations are a part of the process, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn told the STA on the sidelines of the Brdo Process ministerial.

Hahn stressed the importance of economical, social and political development in Western Balkans countries and added that it took time to get there.

He used corruption legislation as an example, explaining that while all countries in the region hold exemplary laws to fight corruption, these seem to be neglected when it comes to practice.

Hahn also touched on Macedonia's process of joining the EU, which has been stuck since 2005 due to Greece's opposition to Macedonia's name.

Macedonia is a nice example of what happens when a country looses its EU perspective momentum, Hahn said and added that the European Commission had to postpone the start of negotiations, which have not started yet.

The commissioner also commented on Serbia's EU integration process, which he believed is going along well. However, he did not wish to say when fresh negotiation chapters would open, only that it would happen by the end of 2015.

Hahn is not particularly worried about the good relations between Russia and Serbia and added that he was confident about the possibility of good cooperation between all sides, pointing to economic factors.

Considering the fact that only 4.5% of all investments in Serbia come from Russia, while as much as 18% are from Austria, it is clear where Serbia's strong tendency to join Europe comes from, Hahn said.

Hahn pointed out that economy-wise, the Western Balkans were closely linked with the EU, poining to the fact that a great share of foreign investments in the region came from EU members.

In conclusion, Hahn pointed out that it was upon the EU candidate to decide how fast it wanted to join the EU and added that there was no "speed limitations" in the process to join the union.


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