Statement of the MFA on the Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2013 – 2014
18.10.2013 / 08:28
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic welcomes the Communication from the Commission „Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2013-2014“, adopted by the European Commission on October 16, 2013.
In general, the Czech Republic agrees with conclusions and recommendations of the Strategy and with the assessment of the progress made by the candidate and potential candidate countries. The Czech Republic supports the Strategy’s main theme and agrees that the economic crisis underlined the need to strengthen economic governance and raise competitiveness of the assessed states. We identify ourselves with the fact that the EU enlargement policy brings positive political, economic and security effects. It is a successful tool stimulating transformative efforts in the countries aspiring for EU membership and contributing to the peace, stability and prosperity of the European continent.
We share the European Commission’s assessment of Turkey as a strategic partner and regret that the accession talks are not progressing. In the Czech Republic’s view it is very important to renew the dynamic of the accession talks with Turkey.
The Czech Republic is pleased with the good pace of the accession talks with Montenegro launched in June 2012. We appreciate the efforts invested in reforms especially in the fields of rule of law, judiciary and justice.
The Czech Republic welcomed the June 2013 decision to open accession negotiations with Serbia. We appreciate the significant progress in normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo that has been made through the dialogue facilitated by High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy C. Ashton. Furthermore, the Czech Republic welcomes the fact that the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia entered into force and that the analytical examination of the acquis (screening) started in September. We expect the first intergovernmental conference on the accession to be held in January 2014 at the latest.
The Czech Republic endorses the recommendation, already fifth in a row, to launch accession negotiations with Macedonia and concurs with the Commission’s proposal to resolve the dispute with Greece over the name issue during the course of the negotiations.
The Czech Republic takes note of the Commission’s recommendation to grant Albania candidate status. We hope Albania and its new government will take the opportunity and focus on carrying out necessary reforms. In order to successfully move towards EU membership, Albania should improve the functioning of the rule of law and democratic institutions and, at the same time, ensure good economic governance including an improvement in the investment climate.
The Czech Republic notes with regret the absence of progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina and calls on the country’s politicians to implement the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the Sejdić-Finci case and to carry out other reforms necessary for the country to move forward in the EU integration process.
The Czech Republic welcomed the June 2013 decision by the EU to launch negotiations on a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Kosovo. The significant progress in the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia made through the dialogue facilitated by High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy C. Ashton was key for this step. Bringing Kosovo into the process of EU integration is extremely important for the stability and prosperity of Kosovo and the whole region. The Czech Republic supports the reforms in the area of the rule of law carried out in Kosovo with the aim of liberalizing the visa regime with EU member states.
We respect the decision of the government of Iceland to put the accession talks on hold. The Czech Republic continues to support the prospect of Iceland’s EU membership.