The European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn believes that the United Kingdoms’s exit from the EU does not mean the end of the enlargement of the EU, but provides, even more reasons for its enlargement.

Hahn, while opening the business forum at the Summit for the Western Balkans in Paris, stressed that there is an EU perspective for countries from the Western Balkans despite EU members going through a difficult phase.

“What we  are faced with, is one country leaving the Union, and that does not put an end to enlargement, on the contrary. There are many reasons why the European Commission are determined to continue the process”, highlighted Hahn.

He said that strengthening the agenda for infrastructure and connecting the countries in the region represents a significant opportunity to expand cooperation and improve conditions for investors. Hahn assessed that the accession process is not only the alignment of legislation but is also focused on the economy, ie economic growth and raising competitiveness.

In the accession process, said Hahn, what’s especially important is the rule of law and economic development. He said that the Western Balkans are still faced with certain problems, such as the burden of the past, but that most countries have shown a clear commitment to reform.

All governments, Hahn said, in future should take concrete steps in this direction.

The same message has been conveyed from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that the Western Balkans fo have a European perspective, but that the process of EU enlargement will be at a “different speed”. She noted that countries will be integrated into the EU individually, at different stages, and not in groups.