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Balkans: Hahn, EU leaders should open to Tirana

Commissioner, 'we risk not having influence in the region'

23 May, 11:03
(ANSA) - BRUSSELS, MAY - If the EU leaders deny the opening of accession negotiations with the EU for Albania and Macedonia ''we will no longer have influence in the region and no one will then be able to complain that Russia, China or Turkey succeed in getting there''. That is what EU Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn, told ANSA and a small group of international newspapers, a month after the expected decision of the European Council on Albania and Macedonia. Hahn underlined that he is ''sure'' that EU leaders ''will understand the situation'' and will ''chose rationality''. The EC's assessment of the progress made in the relationship between Albania and Northern Macedonia is positive. ''I am confident, and I think that the reluctant member states have convincing arguments'' to give their go-ahead to the two Balkan countries, such as the reform of the justice system in Albania and Macedonia's historic Skopje name agreement with Athens. ''We are talking about bringing stability to a region that also represents an attractive market, we are talking about 8 million people, with a rate of growth which is twice as high as the European average'', Hahn said. (ANSA).

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