Hoyt Yee: It will take Balkan countries three decades to reach EU level

“The cooperation between the US and the EU is one of the most important factors in the Balkans, and it is our wish for all Balkan countries to become more stable, to develop and be safe”, said an assistant to the US Secretary of State, Hoyt Brian Yee in an interview for NIN weekly.

“We are here to offer support, encouragement, to give advice if needed, but also to occasionally call out our partners to be more responsible. When we or our partners take on an obligation, we feel that that obligation should be honoured”, Yee ads.

As for the cooperation between the US and the EU in the Balkan area, which he thinks is one of the most important factors here, he says: “Wherever the US and the EU acted in unison, progress ensued. Hence, I think that the key ingredient to progress here is the will of political leaders to do what they have to do and to accept advice and help from the international community. Together with our partners, we have been trying to establish mutual goals”, Yee goes on to say.

He also calls some of the decisions made by the Balkan political leaders as “controversial”.

According to Hoyt Yee, the number one priority here should be economic growth. “Most of the regional countries have an annual economic growth of between 3% and 4%, and even if they reach 6%, it would still take them three decades to reach the current EU average. We are also aware of how corrupt the Balkan politicians are, but it is the citizens who choose the leaders”, Yee adds.

Hoyt Brian Yee has been an US operative in the Balkans for almost 25 years on and off.

He was present when some of the most important events in this part of the world, like the 1993 Dayton Agreement, took place. In 1999, he shared office with Javier Solana. He was stationed in Podgorica when Serbia and Montenegro decided to go their separate ways, he was in Thessaloniki when Greece was sinking into financial crisis, and he was also in Zagreb to monitor Croatia’s preparations for joining the EU.

Today, he is the number one operative of the US administration for the Balkan region. In March, he spoke to Hashim Thaci in Pristina, after which the proposal to form Kosovo army was scrapped. In May, he visited Macedonia, and soon after Nikola Gruevski stepped down from his office, while Zoran Zaev became the new Macedonia prime minister.

The same month, he met with the political leaders in Albania, after which they reached an agreement about parliamentary election. Around about the same time, he met with Aleksandar Vucic and Sasa Jankovic in Belgrade, and recently he was a guest at Aleksandar Vucic’s inauguration.

(Politika, 05.07.2017)



This post is also available in: Italiano

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