“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.

Where is this progress in detail? 

It’s in the [areas] of rule of law, the fight against corruption, economic development. But what we would like to see is a sustainable track record in particular areas. So that’s why I prefer to speak about a process, not simply about negotiations, because it’s not only to tick the box saying we have adopted this law, but it’s about how it is implemented. And here we would like to see more progress in the fight against corruption, a stronger, more independent, more transparent judiciary. Albania, for instance, has adopted a very comprehensive judicial reform, and now we are already in the implementing phase.” (Full interview at Deutsche Welle)