In 1999, Hombach moved to Brussels, where he took over the position of EU Special Coordinator for the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.
"Who thinks for Schröder?", wrote today's Chairman of the Board of Directors of Axel Springer AG, Mathias Döpfner, in the 'Welt' newspaper in 1999 and stated: "However important Hombach's new job may be – it is as if a builder-owner swaps the architect just after the formwork for the foundation has been laid. Schröder left the thinking to others – namely Hombach. And the latter thought right most of the times. Inconvenient for Social Democrats but competent. Quickly mutated from a youth movement representative to a market-orientated deregulator, he became the most hated enemy of the reactionary left wing of the party."
Despite the over-bureaucratised Brussels environment, which the doer Hombach characterised with 'My Balkan is Brussels', he collected about €4.6 billion for the Balkan countries in his capacity as Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe during the first donor conference in the year 2000.
In July 2002, he was given the 'European Bull' award by the European Taxpayers' Association because as a Special Coordinator he set a very positive example in the sparing use of budgets. "The stability pact administration has been so well developed that it could take on the management of other EU Special Commissioners as well", is how the Welt newspaper cited the Christian Social Union of Bavaria MP and Vice President of the European Parliament, Ingo Friedrich.
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