Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the European Commission´s annual enlargement package adopted on 9 November 2010
10.11.2010 / 15:30
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic (MFA) welcomes the Communication from the Commission “Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2010-2011”. In general, the MFA agrees with the five key challenges, the conclusions and recommendations and the assessment of the progress made by each candidate and potential candidate country in the past year.
The enlargement is one of the most successful policies in the history of the Union, and its strategic importance in building stability, security and prosperity across Europe remains unparalleled. The key challenges for the coming period, namely strengthening the rule of law, social inclusion, freedom of expression and further development of regional cooperation, represent the guiding points for the aspirant countries on their road to the Union. The MFA believes that the renewed consensus on enlargement, adopted by the European Council in December 2006, is a suitable tool for continuing the policy of enlargement in the coming period.
The MFA welcomes the progress made by Croatia and agrees with the Commission that the accession negotiations are now entering their final phase. The MFA hopes that Croatia will meet the remaining criteria for the closing of all chapters in the coming months, so that the Accession Treaty can be signed in 2011.
The MFA emphasizes the strategic significance of Turkey´s full EU membership and welcomes the continuing political and economic reforms in the country. The MFA hopes that the negotiations will gain further momentum. In this regard, the MFA particularly hopes that the current talks on the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue will move forward, and that progress will soon be made as regards full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement on the part of Turkey.
The MFA welcomes the start of the accession negotiations with Iceland and expects that the first chapters will be opened in 2011.
The MFA fully supports the Commission´s recommendation to grant Montenegro the status of candidate country. The MFA believes that this will give the country a great impetus to meet the criteria in the seven priority areas as a precondition for the start of the accession negotiations.
The MFA also shares the Commission´s view that Macedonia/FYROM sufficiently fulfils the political criteria for membership as well as the commitments undertaken in the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), and that the accession negotiations should be opened accordingly.
The MFA congratulates Serbia on the positive progress it has made on the road of European integration, and expects that the Commission will publish its opinion on Serbia´s application for EU membership in the second half of the coming year.
The MFA hopes that the Commission will soon start a visa dialogue with Kosovo and that, in cooperation with Kosovo as well as with the EU Member States, the country will be brought to take a full part in the European integration process.
The MFA reaffirms its support for the European integration of the Western Balkans. However, the support is contingent on compliance with the criteria of the European Partnership and Stabilization and Association Agreements. The MFA is confident that Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo will mobilize the energy necessary to achieve a better overall assessment of their progress next year. The Czech Republic is ready to assist all countries of the region in many specific areas of European integration.