Hahn: Political compromise in the Western Balkans must be rewarded

Johannes Hahn at Vienna Economic Talks; Photo: European Union 2019

LUXEMBOURG – Political compromise in the Western Balkans must be rewarded, says Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the Council of the European Union.

Hahn urged EU ministers to enable the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia as soon as possible and assessed that this would be an important signal for the entire region.

“If the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue (on the normalisation of relations) resumes, they have to see if investments into searching for a political compromise will be rewarded. Otherwise, they do not have a motive. The EU Council should understand the importance of such a signal for the region,” Hahn said.

Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the EU Council, which will discuss the enlargement policy and 2019 Enlargement Package, Hahn reiterated that North Macedonia did everything that was expected and warned that any delay in setting the starting date for the talks carries a specific risk.

He stressed that if a country put considerable efforts in its European perspective and its leaders showed courage in reaching a compromise and were left without recognition, the EU would not lose only its credibility, but also its influence in the Western Balkans region.

The ministers of the Council of the EU at a meeting in Luxembourg should bring conclusions and recommendations on further steps for the countries that are in the process of accession.