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Photo: Antonín Nádvorník (©MZV)
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Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the European Commission’s annual enlargement package

 

The Czech Republic welcomes the Communication of the European Commission on the EU Enlargement Policy and related reports on candidate and potential candidate countries.

The Czech Republic shares the emphasis the European Commission places on holding to the principles of the rule of law and fundamental rights, strengthening democratic institutions, including through the public administration reform, as well as on economic development and competitiveness. The progress on the way to EU membership is to be assessed on the basis of each country’s own merits in conducting the necessary reforms. Further progress is also conditional on the advancement of regional cooperation and reconciliation.

The Commission’s strategic document on the Western Balkans adopted in February 2018 represents an effective contribution to and support for the enlargement policy. The strategy confirms the prospect of EU membership for the Western Balkan countries as well as greater engagement of the EU in the region. The Czech Republic intends to actively contribute to the implementation of the strategy both bilaterally and within the EU.

The Czech Republic supports maintaining the high pace of accession negotiations with Montenegro and welcomes the progress achieved in implementing domestic reforms. The Czech Republic believes Montenegro will continue with the efforts aimed at the implementation in accordance with the recommendations of the European Commission. 

The Czech Republic recognizes Serbia’s efforts in conducting domestic reforms enabling the accession negotiations to gain the necessary dynamism. We believe that the intensity of EU-related reforms and the process of normalizing relations with Kosovo that is crucial for the stability of the region and for further progress of the country in the EU integration process will continue to deepen.

The Czech Republic welcomes the progress made by Macedonia in implementing the Pržino Agreement as well as the Urgent Reform Priorities. The extension of the European Commission’s recommendation to start accession negotiations with Macedonia is very positive news and the Czech Republic will strive to secure a corresponding decision of the European Council in June.    

The Czech Republic recognizes Albania’s progress in the implementation of the five key priorities and especially in the justice reform. The Czech Republic welcomes the European Commission’s recommendation to start accession negotiations with Albania and will strive to secure a corresponding decision of the European Council in June.

The Czech Republic concurs with the European Commission’s assessment saying that in the past period the reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina have slowed down. If the country is to avoid an institutional crisis after the general elections in October 2018, it is essential that political parties reach an agreement on adopting a new electoral law. It is positive that in February Bosnia and Herzegovina handed over the questionnaire based on which the European Commission will prepare an opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU membership application.

The Czech Republic regrets that the unstable political situation in Kosovo hinders greater progress in reforms and in the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement. The Czech Republic welcomes the ratification of the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro that brings us very close to the introduction of the visa liberalization for Kosovo citizens. The continuation of the process of normalizing relations with Serbia is crucial for the stability of the region and for further progress of the country in the EU integration process. In this regard, the Czech Republic views favorably the first steps taken by the Kosovo government with the aim of establishing the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities.

The Czech Republic shares the Commission’s view on the developments in Turkey, its lasting concern about the respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms. The extraordinary efforts made by Turkey, in collaboration with the EU, with the aim of solving the refugee and migration crisis are appreciated. Turkey remains a key partner of the EU and a candidate country and, therefore, we support the continuation of the dialogue and cooperation in the areas of joint interest.

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