Hahn: EC immediately starts preparations for screening process for Macedonia and Albania

European Commission is immediately starting preparations for the screening process for Macedonia and Albania that were given a conditional green light to open EU accession talks in June 2019, EU Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in an interview with RFE/RL.

Hahn said that with conclusions of the General Affairs Council, the European Commission has the green light to begin preparations in order to officially start negotiations in the middle of next year.

“It should lead to the intergovernmental conference at which the first chapters should open by the end of next year,” Hahn said.

Asked whether he is sure that this will happen in June 2019 and that no member state will be able to stop this process, Hahn said that the screening depends on the EC and it is a very comprehensive task and work.

According to my people, it is more than a hundred conferences where all different elements need to be analyzed. It is a challenged for the governments, especially the administration and we have this ambitious goal, Hahn said.

Asked about what kind of message he sends to Skopje and Tirana with this conditional date for negotiations, Hahn said that “citizens of the future North Macedonia and the citizens of Albania should look at this through a very positive perspective.”

“I would not like to say half a cup, but almost 90 percent of the cup that an overwhelming majority of member states have recognized all their achievements and need to understand that this is a very strong commitment from political leaders, as well as citizens to the resolution regarding their European perspective. And this is a good opportunity to convince the three member states that their skeptical view on these countries is not justified,” Hahn underlined.

He sends message to the citizens of both countries that essence is important and not only now what is agreed, but what needs to be done.

“And as I said before, we now have the task to begin immediately with the preparatory work. I hope we will not waste time, we will not wait until autumn to start the work,” Hahn said.

Hahn, whose mandate expires in 2019, asked how he can ensure that this really will happen due to change in Brussels, he answered that it is a matter of negotiations between the institutions.

“First, the negotiations are conducted between the institutions. Certainly they are led by people, but I think we will do everything in this challenging timeframe. Of course, I would like to finish what I started at the beginning of my mandate and get the green light during my mandate. Certainly, I invested a lot and I am very motivated to succeed, but once again it is a matter of cooperation and work among institutions,” Hahn said in an interview with RFE/RL.