Enlargement is not about social work, it is not about doing our partners a favour, it is in the European Union's interest, it is about creating stability, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
Commissioner Hahn and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini presented today the European Commission's annual Enlargement Package, which includes seven individual reports assessing implementation of the EU's enlargement policy based on established criteria and fair and rigorous conditionality.
“I think it is indeed a good day for the Western Balkan region and today's package shows yet again that our forward-looking yet very strict enlargement policy is working,” Hahn said. “It's a policy which doesn't have an ending itself,” he added.
Hahn expressed pleasure over the Commission's decision to acknowledge the important and tangible progress made by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania, by issuing recommendations to open accession negotiations with both.
“If they deliver, we have to deliver, and this is exactly what happened today,” he added.
The commissioner further said that “even though the overall report is very critical, I think it is positive and optimistic one in terms of the Western Balkans.”
“It is also important to stress that there are no shortcuts or free passes on the way to the Union,” said the commissioner, adding that the whole process is merit-based and it depends on individual progress.
Speaking about the upcoming EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia, Hahn emphasized that focus of the event will be on very concrete delivering, which connects the region better to the EU and also improves interregional cooperation.
HR Mogherini explained in the introductory part of the press conference that the Enlargement Package assessed the implementation of the European Union's enlargement policy in an extremely detailed way.
“As the package reconfirms, the European Union's enlargement is for us an investment, first of all an investment in peace and security, prosperity and stability of Europe,” Mogherini said.
Mogherini is set to visit the Western Balkans from April 17 to 19.
Ahead of the visit she said “the Western Balkans are Europe and will be part of the European Union's future, of a stronger, stable and united Union.”