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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.06.11: EU hopes Croatia can be lesson to Balkans and West - 11 views

  • BRUSSELS, June 22 (Reuters) - After years of ambivalence about new members, European Union policymakers are hoping Croatia's accession to the 27-nation bloc will persuade other aspirants that democratic reforms reap dividends.

    The ambition is that Croatia's progress will show the western Balkans that the EU is still willing to grow and quell concerns that "enlargement fatigue" -- rife since the global economic crisis made Europeans wary about the cost of expansion -- means reform efforts are futile.

  • But Zagreb may now be days away from completing its entry talks and EU leaders are set to give a go-ahead to its accession at a summit on Thursday and Friday.

    EU officials say the leap was made possible by an intense reform push that proved the country of 4.4 million people was serious about fighting widespread corruption.

Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

21.06.11: Montenegro 'could start EU membership talks soon' - 1 views

  • The Hungarian Presidency of the European Union is committed to giving a new impetus to the EU enlargement process and ihopes that a decision will be reached as early as this year on starting EU accession negotiations with Montenegro, Hungary's minister of state for foreign affairs Zsolt Németh said on June 21 2011.

    Németh was speaking at a news conference after the second meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council(SAA) held between the EU and Montenegro in Luxembourg.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

20.06.11: Füle shows Macedonia yellow card - 1 views

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    In an unprecedented move, Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle has warned Macedonia that the country could lose its EU candidate status if no progress is made on the path to reform and if the EU hopeful keeps on taking actions considered by Greece as "provocations".



    The warning came in a TV interview given by Füle to Macedonian TV channel A1, one of the few media outlets with a critical voice and which the government is reportedly trying to silence.



    Füle was asked to comment on the decision by Nikola Gruevski's government to erect a statue of a 'warrior on horseback' resembling Alexander the Great in the centre of Skopje, which has sparked fury in Greece. Over the weekend, the 12-meter high statue was finally assembled.



    The commissioner said that not only in bilateral affairs, but also in normal life any person should avoid doing things seen by its neighbour as a provocation.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.06.11: Commission Recommends Croatia to be the 28th member of the EU - 4 views

  • Croatia is almost there but it would take at least 2 more years of monitoring and ratification by the existing EU member states to become the 28th member of the European Union. But the country passed a big hurdle as the European Commission has decided to recommend Croatia to the EU member states.

    "The European Commission has just proposed... to close the last four chapters in the accession negotiations with Croatia," the European Commission President Barroso said in a statement.  Mr. Barroso's statement came following successful completion of talks on reforming the Croatian judiciary which was a sensitive issue.

Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

07.06.11: Reviving EU enlargement - 0 views

  • The arrest of the former Bosnian Serb commander is good news for the relatives of those killed at Srebrenica; for international justice, which may be slow but has a long memory; for Serbia, which has taken a leap towards integration with Europe; and for the European Union, which, despite its economic and political troubles, has shown its potential to transform even intractable Balkan disputes. That the arrest took place on the same day as a visit by Cathy Ashton, the EU's foreign affairs boss, was a coincidence. But few doubt that the EU played a big part through the power of its unique tool, enlargement. The promise of EU membership, on condition that Serbia first cooperate with war crimes prosecutors, strengthened the resolve to find Mladic.
  • Even if Brammertz says Serbia has more to do (Goran Hadzic, former leader of the Croatian Serbs, is still at large), Serbia will probably win EU candidate status this year. Whether it can start talks immediately (i.e., in early 2012) or, more likely, be asked to do more homework first will depend on how far Tadic pushes judicial reform and reconciliation with Kosovo. Montenegro, already a candidate, may also be deemed fit to begin accession talks. Senior Eurocrats cling to the hope that this month's election in Macedonia will produce a government able to end the tedious dispute with Greece over the country's official name, clearing the way for talks to begin. Bosnia might look less dire if Serbia moves closer to Europe. Even Albania, denied candidate status because of its democratic failings, still sees the EU as its destination.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.03.11: Croatia's justice system still not up to scratch, EU report says - 0 views

  • Brussels - Croatia's efforts to reform its judicial system, fight crime, prosecute war criminals and protect minorities are still not good enough for European Union membership, a report concluded Wednesday.
  • The negative findings meant the commission was unable to recommend closure of talks with Croatia on the judiciary and fundamental rights, a key step towards accession.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.02.11: EU and Turkey reach 'stagnation point' at wrong time - 0 views

  • Against a background of unfolding revolutions in the Arab world, speakers at a conference in Istanbul last weekend said Turkey could provide a democratic model for Islamic countries to follow. But ironically, EU-Turkey relations have reached "stagnation point," they said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Belgrade steps closer to EU negotiations - 0 views

  • In Brussels this week, Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic submitted the answers to more than 2,400 questions regarding reforms being implemented and the country's readiness to become a candidate for EU membership.

    After a meeting with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday (January 31st), Cvetkovic said he is confident Serbia would become a candidate by the end of the year.

Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.01.11: Prospects for EU-Croatia enlargement negotiations in 2011 - 0 views

  • But European commission president José Manuel Barroso has been more cautious, saying that the end of 2011 is more likely while EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Füle warns that Croatia's last leg to accession "would be the hardest".

    Good progress was made in December in closing three more negotiating chapters.

    But the difficult chapter eight, concerning competition, still remains. Along with the fight against corruption and judicial reform, it is seen as a key test for Croatia's accession.

    Many believe Croatia may have to close some of its five shipyards if it is to be successful in convincing the commission that it is serious about eliminating unnecessary state aid for its shipbuilding industry.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

05.01.11: Tadic: There is no better alternative for Serbia than EU - 0 views

  • Serbian President Boris Tadic stated on Wednesday that there is no better alternative for Serbia than joining the EU, adding that the country's EU membership would help overcome many historical misunderstandings in the Western Balkans.

    Addressing the participants of the ambassadors' conference held in Belgrade, Tadic said that the EU integration is Serbia's most important political goal for 2011 and the years to come.

    "Serbia's priority goal is to obtain the EU candidate status, but at this point we cannot say if the date for the beginning of negotiations on the EU accession will be determined this year or next," Tadic stressed.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

05.01.11: The Turkish assessment of EU-Turkey relations and the enlargement process - 0 views

  • Turkey’s chief European Union negotiator and foreign and justice ministers dispelled negative assessments regarding the current state of Turkey’s EU accession negotiations Tuesday, reaffirming the government’s commitment to reform and full membership, despite ongoing political obstacles.
  • Diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review that speakers at a Tuesday panel in Ankara regarding Turkish-EU talks do not see Turkey’s position in the negotiations as having progressed very far. “The problems facing Turkish negotiations were discussed. It was agreed that the current picture is not worse than it was at the 1997 Luxembourg summit,” they reported.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.12.10: Croatia Advances in EU Entry Talks, Targets Mid-2011 Wrapup - 0 views

  • Croatia advanced in its bid to become the European Union’s 28th member, moving closer to wrapping up entry talks by the middle of 2011.

    Croatia completed negotiations on EU justice, environment and foreign policies, leaving talks open in only seven of the EU’s 35 policy areas.

  • Croatia has missed self-set deadlines before, as domestic reforms lagged and the souring European economy stirred opposition to further enlargement after the EU expanded beyond the former Iron Curtain from 2004 to 2007. It now aims to sign its entry treaty in the second half of 2011.

    What follows is European Parliament approval and ratification by all 27 EU governments, a process Fule said can take “plus/minus 18 months.” That would put Croatia on track to become a member sometime in 2013.

Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

14.12.10: Elections in Kosovo demonstrate internal division of the society - 0 views

  • Acting Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has declared victory for his Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) following the first parliamentary elections to be held in an independent Kosovo. He made the declaration before the country's electoral commission has published the preliminary results.

    Exit polls signalled that the PDK had won most of the votes but the victory was overshadowed by reports of serious fraud in two municipalities in the Drenica region, a PDK stronghold. A 94 percent turnout was reported in Skenderaj while in the rest of Kosovo it averaged around 45 percent.

  • The elections demonstrated the internal divisions of a society that broke loose from its former Serbian rulers and declared itself an independent state in February 2008. Turnout in the majority Serb areas of the north was around one percent, after the Belgrade government's call for a vote boycott.

    However, there was a higher than expected turnout among Serbs in the rest of Kosovo, a sign that divisions run through the Kosovar Serb community as well.

    Even if the PDK's victory is confirmed, it will need at least two more parties, including minorities, as coalition partners to create a new government.

Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

24.11.10: Fuele hands over questionnaire to Serbian Prime Minister - 0 views

  • EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele has given the EC questionnaire to Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković in Belgrade this Wednesday.
  • Cvetković stated on Wednesday that Serbia will answer the European Commission's (EC) questionnaire by the end of January 2011, while Fuele assessed that Serbia is in a good position on the road to the EU.

    "The government's aim is for Serbia to obtain the EU candidate status by the end of 2011 and to determine the date for the beginning of negotiations," Cvetković stated.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.11.10: Jeremic (Serbia): Silent pro_eu majority in the Western Balkans might become ... - 0 views

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic said in London on Thursday, that unless the fatigue caused by EU enlargement is overcome, the silent pro-European majority in the Western Balkans might become a silent minority.

    Speaking at the London School of Economics, Jeremic reiterated that Serbia is absolutely committed to EU membership as a strategic goal and Belgrade is open for dialogue and compromise with Pristina, acceptable for both sides.

    The dialogue should begin as soon as possible and on less controversial issues, in order to gradually shift to more delicate ones, the Minister explained.

Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.11.10: 'Wrong answers' on Kosovo could block Serbia's EU candidacy - 0 views

  • When EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule hands his 'questionnaire' over to the Serbian authorities during his visit to Belgrade next week, the recipients may wish to take a step back and reflect carefully before they sit down to formulate their responses.

    Serbia's replies to the list of questions will largely determine the European Commission's assessment of the country's readiness to become an EU candidate, and a few 'wrong' answers on Kosovo could easily compromise the process.

  • Either the European Commission or the Council of Ministers could advise against granting Belgrade candidate status or the decision could be put on hold until Belgrade has clarified contested positions, according to EU officials dealing with Serbia.

    The questionnaire itself is 'status neutral' regarding Kosovo, and takes into account UN Resolution 1244, which set up an international military presence in Kosovo in 1999.

    "Serbian answers should be status neutral and respect UN Resolution 1244 as well," an EU member state diplomat told WAZ.EUobserver. "That means Serbia will not be forced to recognise Kosovo's independence in the questionnaire but Belgrade should accept in the answers the reality that Kosovo is not under Serbian sovereignty or control."

  • "Some important EU countries have already signalled they will veto Serbia's candidate status if Belgrade tries to use the questionnaire to affirm sovereignty and territorial integrity in Kosovo," an EU diplomat warned.

    A positive opinion by the commission is usually essential for an aspiring country to become an official candidate. The only exception so far has been Greece, which became a candidate in spite of a negative assessment by the Brussels-based executive.

  • ...1 more annotation...
  • "It is imaginable that the commission gives a positive opinion on Serbia without Ratko Mladic being arrested," said a source in the EU Council of Ministers. "But it is unimaginable, after the council conclusion last month in Luxembourg, that the EU [member states] will find the unanimity required to grant candidate status to Serbia without Ratko Mladic being arrested and transferred to the Hague tribunal prison in Scheveningen."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

13.11.10: Fuele: Serbia to answer EC questionnaire in detail - 0 views

  • Serbia has capacity to precisely and in detail answer the EC questionnaire, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele has assessed.

    Stefan Fuele (Beta, file)
    Stefan Fuele (Beta, file)

    He told Belgrade-based daily Večernje novosti that the questionnaire, which should be sent to Serbia in late November, would cover the entire EU policy.

    Fuele said that the EC would like to submit its unbiased analysis on Serbia’s readiness to begin accession negotiations in the second half of 2011.

    “The questionnaire will be very similar to the one which was sent to Montenegrin and Albanian authorities as a part of preparations for EC opinion for these two countries. Some questions will be specific for Serbia and its reality,” the EU enlargement commissioner explained.
  • Hague cooperation – key condition for EU

    When asked if Serbia’s cooperation with the Hague Tribunal could disrupt the deadlines, bearing in mind that the EC opinion is a technical and not a political issue, Fuele said that the EC Council of Ministers had pointed out at the meeting on October 25 that both Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) and Interim Trade Agreement had demanded Serbia’s full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.11.10: Turkey hits back after EU enlargement report - 0 views

  • Turkey's chief negotiator on EU accession, Egemen Bagis, has joined in the country's backlash against a European Commission report which criticised its blockade of Cyprus and laid out a laundry list of civil liberties shortcomings.

    Mr Bagis in a written response to EUobserver's questions on Wednesday (10 November) accused the EU of not doing enough to help end the isolation of Turkish Cypriots, of "irrationally" blocking talks on energy co-operation and of "hiding" its real reasons for the slow pace of accession behind Cyprus.

  • The 104-page-long commission report, out on Tuesday, urged Ankara to open up its ports and airports to Cyprus unilaterally. It painted a picture of Turkey as becoming increasingly wealthy and liberal. But it said the constitutional reform process has not gone far enough and noted that the situation for journalists, women and gay people looks distinctly un-European on the other side of the bloc's southern border.

    Reporters in Turkey can still face criminal proceedings for the archaic offence of "insulting the Turkish nation." A tax case against the government-critical Dogan Media Group has spooked journalists into self-censorship. And videos making fun of Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, saw YouTube pulled off the wires for over a year and a half.

    The situation looks good for women on paper. But in practice so-called "honour killings" are up, early and forced marriages "remain serious problems" and tens of thousands of girls in eastern and south-eastern regions are out of school. In school "textbooks still contain stereotypes about women's role and status."

    Meanwhile, the Turkish establishment promotes intolerance against gay people. The EU Commission noted that the minister for women publicly called homosexuality a "disorder" while the army calls it as a "psychosexual illness." The negative climate has seen killings of transvestites and transsexuals; police beatings of transgender activists; people losing their jobs for being gay; and authorities punishing gay people under bylaws on "offences against public morality."

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