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Saturday, May 27, 2017, 

Hahn: Future of Balkans lies in EU

Hahn: Future of Balkans lies in EU

Vienna, 20 March 2017 (MIA) - Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn has said the situation in the Western Balkans countries is still fragile and a permanent solution lies only within the European Union.

"We are focused on the membership dates. We are talking about the accession process, whereas the speed of the countries' progress depends solely on themselves", says Hahn in an interview with Vienna daily "Kurier".

Regarding the resistance over further admission of new EU members, Hahn says the majority of citizens in the member-states show restraint and is therefore important to convince them that a new member is not a burden or problem, but benefit.

According to him, aspirant states must meet prerequisites, the legal system must work, they should become more attractive for investors, while economies should be the key factor in future enlargements.

"That is why we proposed for a common market in the Western Balkans, including free flow of commodities and services, mutual acknowledgment of certificates. This can be implemented with relative ease, without changing any agreements, as the first step towards the European common market. Up to 80,000 formal obstacles could be removed", stresses Hahn.

In the interview, the European commissioner also notes the Russian influence in the region, especially when it comes to geostrategic development. ik/10:52

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