‘2025 is ambitious for Western Balkans to join EU’

Tensions in the Western Balkans can only be overcome if all countries in the region join the European Union, says enlargement chief Johannes Hahn. The EU’s door should remain open for Turkey, he told DW.

DW: Looking at the new progress reports for the Western Balkans, who are the frontrunners in this process, which is not as easy as some people might think?

Johannes Hahn: I have to admit I don’t like the term “frontrunner,” because it might indicate something different, but I suppose you refer to Serbia and Montenegro. They are usually called frontrunners, because those are the two countries which have already started negotiations with us. But if I look at the six countries in the region, I can fortunately say there is more or less focus everywhere.

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(European enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn speaks at a Western Balkans summit in 2017. Photo: EU audiovisual service)