"Western Balkans belong to Europe"
European Commissioner Johannes Hahn stated that the Western Balkans belong to Europe and that the efforts of the countries in that region will be recognizedSource: Tanjug
He told the Croatian Express that the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU is a process based on merit and that as such, it is in the true interest of the EU.
"It's about 'exporting stability instead of importing instability,'" Hahn, a former commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and enlargement negotiations, had pointed out.
He urged "friends from the Balkans" to continue with the reforms on the European path and that these efforts will be recognized.
He reminded that last month, the EU decided to open accession negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia, despite the crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He added that by reprogramming financial resources and additional measures, such as lifting the ban on the export of medical devices, the EU has clearly shown that the Western Balkans belong to the EU.
Speaking about the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, Hahn said that it was a pandemic of unprecedented proportions, but that it must not serve as an excuse for governments to abuse the situation and impose disproportionate measures.
"The idea of using mobile devices as a means of controlling the spread of viruses can be a very useful tool. In the EU, we are well aware of the invasion of privacy. That is why we care about the importance of data protection and the use of data only to track people who were potentially in close contact with the carrier of the virus”, Hahn said.