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EU Enlargement Chief: Bloc Wants Good Ties With Eastern Neighbors, Central Asia

The European Union's enlargement chief says the EU wants to pursue good relations with its Eastern Partnership countries but that each case must be viewed individually.

Johannes Hahn, the new commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, says the EU must look for ways to build ties with even those countries that do not seek future membership in the EU.

Speaking to the Baltic News Service, Hahn said even the six Eastern Partnership countries -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia -- must each decide separately how closely they want to work with the EU.

He noted, however, that Brussels is eager to support an initiative by the current EU president, Latvia, to pursue better relations with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and other Central Asian states.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the new European Commission president, has said no new countries will join the 28-member EU during his five-year term.

Based on reporting by BNS and Interfax