June 11, 2018 - Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, Johannes Hahn led the 2018 Joint Vienna Institute Annual Lecture on the Western Balkans Strategy of the European Union. The lecture took place at the Joint Vienna Institute on June 11, 2018, at 14:00.
The Joint Vienna Institute is a regional training center, primarily for public sector officials from countries in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, established in 1992. The main founders of the institute are the Austrian Authorities (represented by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Oesterreichische Nationalbank), the International Monetary Fund, and several other international organizations. The institute mainly offers one to two-week courses, seminars, and workshops that focus on macroeconomic policy formulation and management, monetary policy, financial sector stability, etc.
Johannes Hahn said in Vienna that the door of the European Union was undoubtedly open to the countries of the Western Balkans and pointed out that candidates must first of all be aware that without the rule of law there is no progress on the European path. He said that the return of the Montenegrin opposition to the parliament can help further progress, especially in the rule of law, the fight against corruption and organized crime. He stressed that freedom of the media and expression is a fundamental right in the EU, and he expressed particular concern about the political control of the media and the non-governmental sector in Montenegro. He pointed out that the fact that a NATO member country is not a guarantee of a "green light" for EU membership, as it is not enough for a country to be treated as an "anchor of stability in the region". On the same occasion, Mr. Hahn highlighted that “The EU is by far the largest trading partner of the region, and 70% of foreign direct investments to the Western Balkans came from the EU”.
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