Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the EU Enlargement package adopted by the European Commission on 12 October 2011
14.10.2011 / 10:22
(This article expired 15.10.2012.)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic welcomes the Communication from the Commission „Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2011-2012“. In general, the MFA agrees with the conclusions and recommendations of the Strategy and with the assessment of the progress made by the candidate and potential candidate countries.
The developments over the last year have proved that the policy of EU enlargement remains to be a successful, effective and credible tool for attaining stability, prosperity and democracy in Europe. Preserving the principle of conditionality is an important incentive for political, economic and social reforms in the aspiring countries.
The conclusion of the accession negotiations with Croatia is perceived by the MFA as a momentum of utmost significance for further EU enlargement. The MFA hopes that Croatia will continue to fulfill the commitments stemming from the Accession Treaty so that Croatia may enter the EU on July 1, 2013.
The MFA shares the Commission’s opinion of the importance of the EU-Turkey relations and wishes to pursue a positive agenda in these relations. The MFA regrets the minimal progress that has been achieved in the accession negotiations with Turkey. The MFA is hopeful that positive developments both in the implementation of the Additional Protocol to Ankara Agreement by Turkey and in the settlement of the Cyprus issue will occur in the forthcoming months.
The MFA welcomes the progress made in the accession negotiations with Iceland and hopes for a sustained pace of the accession negotiations in the future.
The MFA fully supports the European Commission’s recommendation for launching the accession negotiations with Montenegro. This success is a result of Montenegro’s considerable reform efforts and it will give an impulse to the process of EU integration of the Western Balkan countries.
The MFA identifies with the Commission’s repeated recommendation for launching the accession negotiations with Macedonia/FYROM.
The MFA hopes that based on the Commission’s recommendation, the European Council will decide to grant Serbia candidate status. Over the last year, this country has made significant progress in reforms, cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the process of regional reconciliation. A constructive continuation of the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, including opening new areas of negotiations, and the implementation of concluded agreements are to contribute to making life easier for the inhabitants of Kosovo and to the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
The MFA welcomes the Commission’s intention to launch visa dialogue with Kosovo by the end of the year. Likewise, we support the Commission’s proposal to begin the structured dialogue on the rule of law as well as the Commission’s efforts aimed at concluding a trade agreement and enabling Kosovo’s participation in Community programs.
The MFA reiterates its support of the EU integration of the Western Balkan countries. This support is dependent on sufficient fulfilling of the European Partnership and Stabilization and Association Agreement criteria. We hope that in the forthcoming period Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina will intensify their reform efforts in order for the Commission to note positive progress next year. The Czech Republic will continue to support the Western Balkan countries’ ambitions on the path toward the EU through concrete help in individual sectoral areas of the European integration.