BANJA LUKA – The EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said on Saturday that “the peoples and countries of the Western Balkans share the same culture, identity and history as the countries and peoples of the EU” and that without this region the Union will never be complete.
Han’s comments came in an interview with the Banja Luka daily “Nezavisne novine”, on the occasion of submission of the questionnaire to the Chairperson of the Council of EU Ministers Denis Zvizdić.
At the conclusion that it is no secret that many EU countries have some reservations with regard to the membership of the Balkan countries and to the question on how he would convince the citizens that the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans will be good for Europe, Han said that “without the Western Balkans, the EU as a union dedicated to peace, security and prosperity, a union of values such as democracy, equality and human rights across the continent will never be complete”.
“The economies of the EU and the Western Balkan countries are interconnected. We share the same goals of economic prosperity and that is why the EU has also expanded its interest through enabling the countries of the Western Balkans to be economically ready to join the EU,” said Han, adding that also there are common challenges such as terrorism, the fight against organized crime, migrations, and other topics.
On the question of how to best meet the needs of three constituenting nations in BiH and the assertion that the reform agenda can not answer all the political questions, Han replied that “The reform agenda is designed to initiate the process of modernization of the BiH economy.”
“As for the constitutional order of BiH, the EU recognizes the existing order and it will be further analyzed in the context of the provisions of the acquis process during the preparation of opinions on application for membership. Currently, there is a possibility of amending the Constitution and these procedures are clearly defined. However, this issue is in the hands of BiH “, said the EU Commissioner.