Hahn: I support the right to freedom of expression, violence is unacceptable

Johannes Hahn; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – European Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in Brussels that he fully supports the right to protest and freedom of expression in the Western Balkans, but has indicated that he “condemns every form of violence, which is unacceptable and for which the EU is very strict,” reported N1 and Beta.

“There are those who are asking us to obtain the rule of law, but at the same time they think that we can invade into some country as a military force and change the power there,” Han told reporters after the meeting, which EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and he had with the Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev.

“This is not our comprehension of the rule of law, it is transparency, democracy, the defense of justice,” Hahn said, and he also answered to the journalists’ question on how EU Commission looks at the assessments that the EU in the Balkans tolerates corrupt authorities in exchange  for stability.

The European Commissioner for Enlargement stressed that “there should and must be political changes, based on democratic processes, and on free, fair and transparent elections”.

“This is what we support, but thinking that we should act as arbitrators, say who is good and who is bad, that is, who must leave (the authorities), and who should come, that is not our understanding at all”, explained Hahn.

“And it is not right anyone who thinks that is our comprehension and task, and we will,” he said, “always defend democracy in the region because it is part of our belief that we need to export stability in terms of stronger democratic structures, and not keeping the current state”.

The European Commissioner has indicated that this requires a lot of effort and persistence, pointing out North Macedonia as an example.