In an interview for the weekly magazine NIN, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee spoke about the integration of the Balkans into the EU.
According to Yee, economic growth is a decisive factor in this process, and Balkan countries are still far away form the economic level of EU countries.
The number 1 priority [for Western Balkan countries] should be economic growth. The majority of countries in the regio have an annual growth rate between 3% and 4%, and even if they manage 6%, they would need 3 decades to get to the current average of the EU. […]
We are also aware how corrupt the Balkan politicians are, but the citizens are the ones who chose their leaders. […]
I think that the key component to make progress is the will of the political leaders to do what they need to do and to accept advice and help from the international community. […]
The cooperation between the USA and EU is one of the most important factors in the Balkans and it is our desire that all Balkan countries become more stable, to develop, and to be more secure.