Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

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Statement of the MFA on the European Commission’s Enlargement Strategy and Annual Country Reports


The Czech Republic welcomes the European Commission’s communication “Enlargement Strategy” and the related annual reports for each of the candidate and potential candidate countries.

This year, the European Commission revised the methodology of evaluating the individual countries to assess not only progress but also the state of readiness for membership. The Czech Republic believes that the Commission’s intent to bring more transparency and more clarity will be realized.

The Czech Republic supports the intent of the European Commission to focus on the principle “fundamentals first” in the accession process, i.e. the rule of law and fundamental rights, strengthening of democratic institutions including public administration reform, as well as economic development and competitiveness.

The Czech Republic stresses that the pace of progress of the individual countries on their path to EU membership is clearly set by their real progress in fulfilling the conditions of membership and by implementing the necessary domestic reforms.

The Czech Republic welcomes the progress achieved by Montenegro in the adoption of the needed reforms, including in the rule of law area. It further believes that their implementation will continue in line with the Commission’s recommendations, which will enable the current favourable pace of accession negotiations to continue.

The Czech Republic appreciates the significant progress achieved by the government of Serbia in the implementation of domestic reforms as well as the joint effort on the normalisation of relations with Kosovo, which has resulted in the adoption of a number of important agreements. As recognition of these steps, the Czech Republic fully supports the opening of the first two negotiation chapters before the end of this year. At the same time, we believe that further effort in the implementation of reforms and in the process of normalisation of relations with Kosovo will bring additional increase in the dynamic of the accession negotiations.

The Czech Republic regrets that the EU integration process of Macedonia is at a dead end. The inability to move forward in this process despite the European Commission’s six recommendations to start accession talks is in our view one of the causes for the slowdown in reforms and frequent political crises in the country. The Czech Republic welcomed the June/July 2015 agreement between the government and opposition that is aimed at solving the latest political crisis. The implementation of this political agreement and related reforms is crucial. If the required progress in this regard is made, the EU has to find a way to unblock Macedonia’s accession process and start EU membership negotiations.

The Czech Republic welcomes the progress made by Albania. Particularly positive is the steady progress made in the implementation of the key priorities necessary for the opening of accession negotiations, specifically in the public administration reform and the preparation of a thorough reform of the judicial system. In the coming period, Albania should focus on the reforms pertaining to other key priorities. A constructive cross-party political dialogue needs to be ensured for the sustainability of the integration reform process. The Czech Republic will support the discussion in the EU to open accession negotiations with Albania.

The Czech Republic welcomes the June 2015 entry into force of the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina and the fact the country is back on the reform path which will enable it to move forward in the EU integration process. The Czech Republic fully supports the implementation of the Reform Agenda. Concrete and tangible results of the reforms will be the best recommendation for a successful EU membership application of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The attention should especially be paid to the area of rule of law and to the improvement of the social and economic situation in the country.    

The Czech Republic welcomes the signature of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with Kosovo. The agreement is a political signal to Kosovo that the EU confirms its interest in the country's accession to the European project. The Czech Republic hopes that Kosovo will successfully carry out the necessary reforms, particularly in the area of rule of law, including in the fight against organized crime and corruption. The Czech Republic welcomes the decision of Kosovo to establish the Specialist Chambers to try serious crimes committed in the context of the Kosovo conflict as well as the progress made in the normalization of relations with Serbia. The Czech Republic supports the visa liberalization process with Kosovo and welcomes the progress made by Kosovo in this regard.       

The developments in Turkey’s immediate neighbourhood and the current refugee and migration crisis have reemphasised the importance of this candidate country as a key partner for the EU. We share, therefore, the readiness to further strengthen the dialogue and cooperation with Turkey. One of the ways would be a reinvigoration of the dynamic of the accession negotiations, including the opening of the chapters concerned with the rule of law and fundamental rights.