"The European Union is increasingly willing to consider membership of the Western Balkan states!"
This was the statement by EU Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, during an interview with the Austrian daily chronicle, Wiener Zeitung.
Accession of the Balkan countries would provide peace in the region, said Brussels' top official and according to him, would also enrich the European Union itself.
"There is more readiness now within the member states to address enlargement than there was a year ago.
"The Member States have realized that peace CAN be achieved in the Balkans and that the prospect of EU membership is vital to maintain it" said Hahn.
The Austrian Daily writes that Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are official candidates for EU membership, while Bosnia and Kosovo are seeking the same status.
The European Union sees the region as important for many issues, from emigration to the struggle for security, and even Russia's assumed intervention against radical Islam.
The Commissioner for Enlargement of the European Union says that adding a new member to the European family is not a burden, but a fortune.