EU official: Membership talks should start by end of year
EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn says Chapters 35 and 32 "should be opened by the end of this year."Source: Tanjug
These chapters relate to Serbia's EU accession negotiations.
In his interview for Tanjug on Sunday, Hahn said that the European Commission's progress report on Serbia will be positive.
"I am certain that, having in mind the contribution and the actions of the Serbian government, the first chapters could be opened by the end of the year," said the commissioner, asked if he still believes that the chapters in Serbia's EU accession talks should not be opened before 2016, as he told the Vienna-based Kurier last week.
Based on this you can see how things can speed up if results are achieved sooner than expected, he said.
He pointed out that it is standard for Chapters 23 and 24, on judiciary and the rule of law, to be opened very early in the negotiation process, which, in Serbia's case, should take place early next year.
Asked about his expectations regarding the chapters to be opened by year-end, Hahn noted that there are various opinions on this matter within the EU, but that the chapters in question will certainly be Chapter 35 on Kosovo and Chapter 32 on financial control.
As for the migrant crisis in Europe, Hahn said that "it should be clearly stated that the Western Balkans is not the problem but that the region has been affected by the crisis, just like some of the EU member states," and stressed that "joint action is necessary."
"I hope that such actions will be taken after the recent events and the dramatic surge in refugees, as the number of immigrants on the Western Balkans route has increased six-fold," he said.
According to Hahn, members of the EU have realized that this problem can only be solved by joining forces.
This is a global problem. There are over 60 million refugees around the world, more than after World War 2, the commissioner pointed out.