BERLIN, April 29. /TASS/. European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn has called for gradually enlarging the European Union into the Balkan region, he said in an interview published by German newspaper Handelsblatt on Monday.
"I will keep speaking in favor of the EU enlargement," Hahn said ahead of the Berlin conference on the Western Balkans, which will kick off this evening. "This does not just concern people in Europe’s southeast, but also our own core interests. We either export stability or import instability."
The European commissioner has ruled out a scenario, when all Balkan states would join the community simultaneously because the reforms there are carried out at a different pace. "If a country makes progress on accession to the EU more quickly, it should not suffer because of those, where the progress is slower," he noted.
Hahn emphasized that the EU cannot be indifferent to the Balkan states’ situation in politics and economy, noting that European companies could also take advantage of the economic potential of regional states.
On Monday evening, Berlin will host a conference devoted to developing the situation in the Western Balkans. The event will be held at the initiative of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Heads of state and government of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and unrecognized Kosovo will arrive in the German capital. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini will also attend the event. The conference will focus on a broad dialogue on stabilizing the situation in the region.