EU tells Balkans to quit ‘play­ing with fire’

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

SARA­JEVO (Reuters) – The Euro­pean Union told Balkan lead­ers yes­ter­day to quit “play­ing with fire” and set aside their po­lit­i­cal quar­rels in or­der to take ad­van­tage of what was de­scribed as the bloc’s re­newed con­cern for the re­gion. EU Com­mis­sioner Jo­hannes Hahn was speak­ing at a sum­mit of six Balkan coun­tries that want to join the EU but are grow­ing con­cerned at the re­sis­tance from some EU states to tak­ing in any new mem­bers from ex-com­mu­nist East­ern Europe. Hahn met the prime min­is­ters of Al­ba­nia, Bos­nia, the For­mer Yu­goslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia, Mon­tene­gro, Kosovo and Ser­bia in the Bos­nian cap­i­tal Sara­jevo. “I re­ally can­not re­call a time like now when mem­ber-states and oth­ers ac­tively ap­proached – even pushed – me to check what items could be quickly de­liv­ered to the Western Balkans to sup­port the re­gion,” he told the sum­mit. “Use this rare win­dow of op­por­tu­nity,” he said. “I don’t think you can af­ford to squan­der this pos­i­tive cli­mate through do­mes­tic con­fronta­tions and blam­ing neigh­bors.”

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