German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Commission President-elect Ursula Von der Leyen underlined the importance of closer cooperation with western Balkan countries on a European level at a press conference held at the Chancellery in Berlin on Friday.

"I find it extremely important strategically for European interests that these countries do not lose hope regarding joining prospects. This has very closely to do with a wider issue, migration, where a big part is waiting for the new Commission and where we will positively support new proposals," stated Merkel.

Von der Leyen said she would invest all her strength "to develop joint projects" with the western Balkans to have ties as close as possible with the EU until they will meet the criteria to apply to join the Union. The EU Commission President-elect warns that if the EU does not embrace the Balkans, others will enter the vacuum it leaves.

"One of the main points we talked about is the European Green Deal. Meaning our responsibility as a continent to contribute in protecting the climate, being sparing with resources and to be innovative in this field," said Von der Leyen.

Merkel also commented on the possibility of Huawei being involved in expanding Germany's 5G network, pointing out "that Huawei is a provider already involved in developing the 2G and 3G network." The German chancellor acknowledged that higher security standards would be required in the 5G network, but they would not have separate guidelines for single providers but that every provider would have to follow the laws in place.

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RT 26 Jan 2020 12:00 CET