Patten against redrawing of Balkans borders

EU External Relations Commissioner Patten urges
Balkan regional integration and opposes redrawing of
maps

In a comprehensive review of the EU’s strategy for the
Balkans, Commissioner Patten said that the Union should
only take further steps in the stabilisation and
association process if real reform and progress are
achieved by the Balkan countries.

The greatest threat to the EU’s
stabilisation plan for the Balkan region now is organised
crime, according to Commissioner Patten. “This pernicious
web of organised crime feeding nationalism and extremism –
and vice versa – corrupting and emasculating public
administrations, police and the judiciary is one of the
biggest threats to the EU’s ambitions for the region,” said
Mr Patten.

He announced the EU’s plan to establish
a functioning Interpol network in each Balkan country,
fully linked to the rest of the Interpol network and,
increasingly, with Europol. He added that the EU will help
to establish a functioning regional judicial and
prosecutorial network, including joint investigations and
prosecutions dealing with cross border crime, as well as a
common and Schengen-compatible policy on visas, immigration
and asylum.

Commissioner Patten expressed strong
support for regional co-operation in the region. “If our
strategy is to make sense it must contribute to the EU’s
wider strategic goal of a continent of Europe that is
united and inter-connected,” he said. He stressed that
energy, infrastructure and communication links in the
Balkans have to be integrated.

The Commissioner also announced an
additional financial package of 50 million euro for
Macedonia if a political agreement between the Slav
majority and Albanian minority is reached.

 

EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten made a
strong appeal for the continuation of the Union's
stabilisation and association process in the Balkans in a
speech at the International Crisis Group in Brussels. Mr
Patten rejected proposals for an international conference
to solve the problems of South-East Europe and the
redrawing of borders in the region.

 

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