Monday

21st May 2018

Croatia gets reassurance on EU bid

EU enlargement, particularly to the Western Balkan countries, is set to feature high on the agenda of the bloc's two presidencies in 2009, with Croatia seen as likely to conclude its EU membership talks next year, said the Czech Republic and Sweden - the next two member states to hold the EU's six-month rotating chairmanship after France.

The Balkans seem to have been somehow "forgotten in the light of the current [Georgia] crisis," Czech deputy prime minister Alexandr Vondra, whose country will assume the EU's presidency in the first half of 2009, said at a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday (2 September).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Croatia hopes to become the EU's 28th member by 2011 at the latest. (Photo: European Commission)

"We expect to move talks to the final stage with at least Croatia [during the Czech EU presidency]," he added.

EU-Croatia accession talks were launched in 2005. The country is hoping to finalise them next year and become the EU's 28th member by 2011 at the latest.

Following Ireland's rejection of the Lisbon treaty in June, some EU leaders - including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel - have said that no further EU enlargement will take place until the document is ratified.

But Mr Vondra insisted there was "no reason to create a linkage" between Croatia's EU bid and "something else."

Swedish foreign minister Cecilla Malmstrom, whose country will take over the EU's rotating chair after the Czech Republic, also sent a positive signal to Zagreb.

"Depending on developments in Croatia and on the commission's opinion, it will indeed be possible to conclude the negotiations with Croatia during the Swedish EU presidency [starting 1 July 2009], which would be very good of course," she said.

During the presentation of their common programme, the current presidential trio - France, the Czech Republic and Sweden - also stressed their general support for the whole Balkan region and its "path towards EU integration."

"The whole region will be a priority during our consecutive presidencies," Ms Malmstrom pointed out.

Besides the Balkans, the EU will during these 18 months also focus on strengthening its relations with other neighbours, notably by "building the Eastern Partnership" - an idea put forward by Poland and Sweden earlier this year in order to strengthen the bloc's relations with its eastern neighbours.

Transatlantic relations in a post-US presidential elections context will also figure high on the agenda and hopes are that they will be "energised," the ministers said.

The three countries also put forward as common priorities the adoption of the EU's climate package and improving the bloc's energy security.

Migration and asylum issues, and work on ways to boost the EU's competitiveness will also be on the agenda.

'Connectivity' trumps enlargement at Balkans summit

At the first summit in 15 years with Western Balkan leaders, EU chiefs made it clear that enlargement is not at hand - but offered economic incentives to keep the region close to the bloc.

Analysis

Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties

Turkey has belittled the EU in a week of macho posturing, but strategic relations go deeper than the rhetoric.

EU tells Moldova it is still corrupt

In an annual progress report, European Commission says "independence of justice, law enforcement as well as national anti-corruption authorities need substantial improvement".

EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement

After the European Commission presented its Western Balkans strategy last week, with a view of possibly integrating the region by 2025, some EU ministers were less enthusiastic after their first discussion of the new policy.

Opinion

Appeasement will not work with Erdogan

As EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker meet president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Bulgaria, their reluctance to use their diminishing leverage with Ankara means his dismantling of Turkey's democracy only speeds up.

News in Brief

  1. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  2. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  3. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  4. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row
  5. EU takes six countries to court over air pollution
  6. New Catalan leader sworn in without reference to Spain
  7. Merkel and Putin revive dialogue in troubled times
  8. European companies putting Iran business on hold

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  2. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  3. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  4. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline
  5. Italian populists to defy EU debt rules
  6. Commission 'playing tricks' with EU budget figures
  7. How France escaped EU legal action over chemical ban
  8. 'Connectivity' trumps enlargement at Balkans summit