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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.07.10: Van Rompuy's Balkan visit focuses on Kosovo - 0 views

  • On his first tour of the Western Balkan, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy condemned the recent violence in Kosovo and called for restraint and dialogue. An extraordinary session of the UN Security Council will be held on the matter today (6 July).
  • Serbia unhappy with pace of EU integration Later in the day, Van Rompuy met with Serbian President Boris Tadić in Belgrade. According to an official communiqué, the two leaders discussed the situation in "Kosovo and Metohia," as Belgrade officially calls its former province. The press also reported that Tadić will attend an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council in New York today, called at the initiative of Serbia. According to the statement, Tadić voiced his dissatisfaction with the slowdown in the European integration process, and insisted that speeding up Serbia's EU accession was crucial for the future of the Western Balkans. Last month, Serbia took another step towards EU integration when EU foreign ministers agreed to start implementing an accord with Serbia known as the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). The agreement had been blocked for several years, mainly as a result of the Netherlands' insistence that Belgrade must cooperate fully with the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Later today, Van Rompuy will be in Pristina to meet the president of Kosovo, Fatmir Sejdiu. A visit to the headquarters of the EU's rule of law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, is also on the agenda.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.04.10: Croatia resumes EU entry talks, Turkey criticized - 0 views

  • Croatia resumed accession talks with the European Union on Friday after an almost one-year freeze caused by a border row with Slovenia, a breakthrough which the EU said was a "win-win-win" situation.But the Union said after talks with Turkey, which also hopes to join the EU, that Ankara still had plenty of urgent work to do on reforms and made clear it would face criticism in an EU report this month on its progress towards membership.The EU accession drive is an anchor for reform in candidate countries, and financial markets in Turkey are particularly sensitive to any signs its efforts may be flagging.The resumption of talks with Croatia, after EU member Slovenia lifted a veto it imposed last December over the border row, has raised its hopes of becoming the 28th EU member state.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

20.03.10: Balkan States Press EU on Expansion But Serbia Absent - 0 views

  • BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia (Reuters) - Seven Balkan states urged the European Union at a summit on Saturday to stay committed to enlargement, but Serbia's refusal to attend alongside an independent Kosovo exposed deep regional divisions.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.12.09: Slovenia still holding back Croatia on EU path - 1 views

  • Croatia on Monday (21 December) closed two more negotiation chapters in its bid to join the EU, but Slovenia is blocking the opening of three other areas.
  • Zagreb finalised negotiations in the areas of free movement of services and social policy. But in the meantime, Slovenia has blocked the opening of further negotiations on fisheries, environment and foreign and security policy.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.10.09: Croatia resumes EU membership talks - 0 views

  • Croatia, hoping to be the European Union's next country to join the bloc, resumes membership negotiations on Friday (2 October). The talks are being restarted now that a border dispute between the former Yugoslav nation and its neighbour and EU member state Slovenia is to be put to arbitration overseen by Brussels.
  • The 27-country bloc and Croatia are expected to open six new chapters of the 35 policy areas that are up for negotiation at an intergovernmental accession conference in the European capital. It is also believed that an additional five may be closed on Friday as well. If the results live up to diplomat expectations, Zagreb will have opened 28 chapters and closed 12 as of the end of the day.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.09.09: Slovenia lifts veto on Croatia's EU talks - 0 views

  • Croatia will open six and close five negotiating chapters with the EU next Friday (2 October), following a vote in the Slovenian parliament to unblock negotiations which had been put on ice over a border dispute between the two former Yugoslav republics.
  • The parliamentary committee on EU affairs in Ljubljana voted unanimously on Tuesday (29 September) in favour of lifting the veto, the Croatian news agency Hina reported.  The move follows a decision by the two countries' prime ministers, who recently said the border dispute that had poisoned their relations should not present an obstacle to proceeding with Croatia's EU accession negotiations.
  • Pahor said the draft arbitration agreement was based on a proposal for settling the dispute tabled by EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, which he said mentioned Slovenia's access to the high seas. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

11.09.09: Slovenia, Croatia Reach Deal on Border, EU Talks - 0 views

  • Slovenia said Friday it was ready to lift its veto on neighbour Croatia's European Union accession talks immediately, after the two prime ministers agreed on how to solve an 18-year old border dispute."The government will immediately propose (to parliamentary committees) that Slovenia removes restraints for Croatia's EU negotiating process," Slovenia's Prime Minister Borut Pahor said after talks with his Croat counterpart Jadranka Kosor.The two committees met later Friday but said they needed more time to consider the issue. They are expected to decide on whether to allow Slovenia to lift the veto early next week.The news comes as a boost to Zagreb -- whose EU bid has been on ice for almost 10 months -- and other EU hopefuls in the Western Balkans, where bilateral disputes abound.Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the rotating six-month presidency of the EU, welcomed the agreement and said Croatia can now continue EU accession talks.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

24.06.09: EU officials tire of Croatia-Slovenia dispute - 0 views

  • In a new setback to Croatia's EU bid, the Czech EU presidency on Wednesday (24 June) cancelled an EU-Croatia intergovernmental conference planned for 26 June due to a lack of progress in Croatia and Slovenia's border dispute which has been blocking Zagreb's EU accession talks for six months.
  • "Despite substantial efforts to facilitate a solution to the country's border dispute with Slovenia, Croatia's accession talks remain blocked and no new chapters can be formally opened or closed," the Czech presidency said in a statement.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

23.06.09: Priorities for Sweden's upcoming Presidency - 0 views

  • With just over a week to go before Sweden takes over the helm of the EU's six-month rotating presidency, the country's foreign minister, Carl Bildt, has made it clear he does not intend to waste time attempting to unblock the many bilateral disputes that currently pepper the EU's diplomatic landscape.
  • One area where he appears to be more optimistic for a quick solution is the future status of Iceland which – depending on an upcoming parliamentary debate – may submit an application in the coming months to join the EU.
  • Sweden's European affairs minister and former MEP, Cecilia Malmstrom, speaking alongside her colleague, said she is under no illusion the next six months are going to be easy and that the presidency's main priorities will be to deal with negotiations in the lead up to the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen in December and the economic crisis.
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  • Not likely to help the Swedes however, is the significant institutional change that is expected under their watch, with a new European Parliament due to sit for the first time next month and the current commission scheduled to end this October. Adding to this confusion is the current drawn-out changeover between the Nice and Lisbon Treaties, with four countries – Ireland, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic - yet to ratify the EU's new set of rules.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.06.09: Croatia, Slovenia dash hopes for quick end to dispute | EU - European Informa... - 0 views

  • Slovenia and Croatia yesterday (18 June) shattered hopes that a long-standing border dispute was coming an end, blaming each other for the deadlock and leaving Brussels to deplore the development.
  • The European Commission said it regretted that Croatia and Slovenia had failed to make progress in talks on the settlement of their border row, underlining that it was a bilateral issue.  The talks had progressed well since January and there remained only a limited number of points to be settled, but the two sides yesterday failed to make progress on those points, says a brief statement issued by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn’s office. Rehn will now report to the current Czech and future Swedish EU Presidencies, it adds. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.06.09: Croatia's EU talks to resume after long dispute - 0 views

  • Slovenia is expected to unblock Croatia's EU accession talks at a ministerial meeting today (15 June). The two countries have clashed for several months over disputed territories on the Adriatic coast.
  • Background: During the French EU Presidency, Slovenia blocked the opening of nine out of ten negotiating chapters with Zagreb due to an unresolved border dispute (EurActiv 18/12/08).  The Czech Presidency has so far failed to make any progress in the negotiations. Indeed, the EU recently postponed an accession conference after the two countries had failed to show any sign of conciliation (EurActiv 24/04/09).  Diplomats have serious doubts about the viability of Croatia's objective of wrapping up accession talks by the end of the year (so as to be ready to join the bloc in 2010) if the bilateral dispute is not resolved soon (see EurActiv LinksDossier on 'EU-Croatia' relations).  The border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia concerns small pockets of land along the Adriatic coast, which could prove important if accompanied by exclusive access rights to deep-sea zones. 
  • However, this may not be the end of the region's problems, as similar obstacles are expected to emerge in the Western Balkan accession process as a whole, diplomats told EurActiv.  EU diplomats said the lack of a clearly defined border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina could soon create problems "one hundred times worse" than the current dispute between Ljubljana and Zagreb, in which the European Commission has invested a huge mediation effort. 
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  • The Netherlands and Belgium are blocking the ratification of the EU's Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia as long as Mladic is at large. Diplomats say that imposing such conditions makes it difficult for the reformist government in Belgrade to withstand the surge of nationalist and anti-European forces. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

27.05.09: New talks bring no progress on Slovenia-Croatia border dispute - 0 views

  • Yet another round of talks on the longstanding border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia failed on Wednesday (27 May) increasing the pressure on Zagreb's EU membership timetable. It was the first meeting between EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn and the foreign ministers of Slovenia and Croatia since the two countries presented their responses to the latest Brussels proposal aimed at solving the bilateral quarrel.
  • The 18-year-old border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia reached a turning point in December when Slovenia blocked Croatia's EU accession talks over the issue. The blockage prompted Mr Rehn to intervene and suggest a mediation proposal to help break the deadlock. In the latest version of his proposal, the commissioner suggested the countries should solve their dispute via a five-member international arbitration tribunal that would operate in line with international law – a point Croatia has been strongly pushing for.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.05.09: Slovenia snubs EU, continues to block Croatian accession - 0 views

  • GA_googleCreateDomIframe('google_ads_div_nexttocontent' ,'nexttocontent'); GA_googleFillSlot("nexttocontent120x"); GA_googleCreateDomIframe('google_ads_div_nexttocontent120x' ,'nexttocontent120x'); Ljubljana - Slovenia's politicians - the ruling bloc, the opposition and the president - have found a rare occasion to stand united, with everyone stubbornly backing the decision to block the path of neighbouring Croatia into the European Union - despite Brussels' wishes. In a perennial row over where their common sea border meets the Adriatic coast, Slovenia - an EU member since 2004 - has stalled Croatia, which hopes to join in 2011. Most recently, Ljubljana effectively dismissed a proposal by EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn to resolve the stalemate by having international arbitration draw up the contested border. Croatia had already agreed to the proposal, but the Slovenian response - though wrapped prettily in diplomatic language - was effectively "no." Slovenia asked for amendments that were flatly rejected not only by Croatia but by the plan's author as well.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

07.05.09: Croatia, Slovenia edge closer to solving border dispute - 0 views

  • Slovenia yesterday (6 May) welcomed Croatia's decision the previous day to accept Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn's proposal for solving the border dispute between the two countries, which had frozen Zagreb's accession negotiations and become an irritant for the EU.
  • Background: During the French EU Presidency, Slovenia blocked the opening of nine out of ten negotiating chapters with Zagreb due to an unresolved border dispute (EurActiv 18/12/08).  The succeeding Czech Presidency has also failed to make any progress in the negotiations so far. Indeed, the EU recently postponed an accession conference after the two countries had failed show any signs of conciliation (EurActiv 24/04/09).  Diplomats have serious doubts about Croatia's ability to wrap up accession talks by the end of the year (so as to be ready to join the bloc in 2010) if the bilateral dispute is not resolved soon (see EurActiv LinksDossier on 'EU-Croatia' relations).  The border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia concerns small pockets of land along the Adriatic coast, which could prove important if accompanied by exclusive access rights to deep-sea zones. Unlike Slovenia, Croatia has a long coastline, prompting Ljubljana to attempt to assert its rights as a "geographically disadvantaged state". 
  • Slovenia welcomed the Croatian government's positive response to Rehn's plan, Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar told the press hours later.  "We welcome today's [...] response. It will enable the resumption of talks," Zbogar told the press. He added that Slovenia would comments on the proposal after internal consultation. The minister declined to comment on media reports that Rehn's proposal was not in his country's interest, but made it plain that Slovenia would table amendments to the text.  Zbogar also disagreed with Croatian President Mesic's statement that the Rehn proposal was a "take it or leave it" offer. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

05.05.09: Croatia accepts EU proposal for border dispute arbitration - 0 views

  • Zagreb has accepted EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn's latest proposal aimed at solving the lengthy border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia, currently blocking Croatia's EU membership talks. "We will inform Olli Rehn in the next 24 hours. Essentially, we are accepting this proposal," Croatian president Stjepan Mesic said after a meeting with Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and the leaders of the political parties in Zagreb.
  • But while Croatia has accepted the proposal, Slovenia's reaction has been much more reserved. Ljubljana says it is still analysing it and will reply after 10 May. The heads of the country's political parties will meet on Wednesday, while the government is to discuss it on Thursday. "Consultations are ongoing... We don't see it as a ‘take it or leave it' proposal," one diplomatic source told EUobserver.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

28.04.09: EU urges Slovenia and Croatia to end border dispute - 0 views

  • The EU on Monday (27 April) called on Slovenia and Croatia to accept a European Commission proposal for international arbitration in order to solve their long-standing border dispute, warning that if the quarrel drags on it could have repercussions on other countries in the region.
  • "We recall the urgency attached to this issue," Czech deputy prime minister Alexandr Vondra, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said at a press conference following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg where Croatia's EU progress was discussed. "Many member states feel a certain sense of urgency, that the stalemate cannot last forever, that very much is at stake ... the whole strategic concept towards the Western Balkans, as well as other disputes," Mr Vondra added.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.04.09: Time running out for Croatia's EU reforms - 0 views

  • The structural reforms Croatia still needs to carry out are more likely to hold up its EU membership bid than the current border dispute with Slovenia, a senior EU official has warned. "I would be more concerned about structural reforms [in Croatia]" than about the border dispute, Vincent Degert, head of the European Commission's delegation in Croatia told a group of journalists in Zagreb on Monday (20 April).
  • Mr Degert spoke about justice reform, as well as the need to restructure Croatia's shipyards and the agriculture sector, as some of the key areas where progress is still needed. "These are the hardcore reforms," he said, with Croatia hoping to finish membership negotiations within the next eight months and enter the EU by 2011.
  • Meanwhile, the 18-year-old dispute on the delimitation of the sea border between Slovenia and Croatia has been escalating in the last months, after Ljubljana blocked Zagreb's EU accession talks in December. The blockage is now threatening to delay the EU entry timetable targeted by Croatia. An intergovernmental EU-Croatia conference planned for the end of March was postponed and is now scheduled to take place on Friday.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.02.09: Croatia advised to 'morally dominate' conflict with Slovenia - 0 views

  • Talks between Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor and his Croatian counterpart Ivo Sanader held yesterday (24 February) in the Slovenian town of Mokrice failed to achieve tangible results, media from the two countries reported.  Until there is progress in solving the border dispute, Slovenia will continue to block Croatia's EU accession negotiations, Pahor reportedly said.  The two countries did not even agree on a framework for dealing with the conflict. Slovenia supports EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn's preference for Brussels mediation, while Croatia maintains that the border issue should be solved before an international court. However, that option could take several years, while Zagreb wants to join the Union in 2010. 
  • During the French EU Presidency, Slovenia blocked the opening of nine out of ten negotiating chapters with Zagreb due to an unresolved border dispute (EurActiv 18/12/08). Diplomats believe serious doubts will surround Croatia's objective of wrapping up accession talks by the end of the year (so as to be ready to join the bloc in 2010) if the bilateral dispute is not resolved soon (see EurActiv LinksDossier on EU-Croatia relations).  The border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia concerns small pockets of land along the Adriatic coast, which could prove important if accompanied by exclusive rights to deep sea zones. Unlike Slovenia, Croatia has a long coastline, prompting Ljubljana to attempt to assert its rights as a "geographically disadvantaged state". 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

20.02.09: Brussels ups pressure over Slovenia-Croatia dispute - 0 views

  • Slovenia and Croatia should work on finding a solution to their year-long border dispute if Zagreb's EU membership negotiations are to stand a chance of making progress during an EU-Croatia meeting next month, the EU enlargement commissioner has said. "It is important that in the next accession conference which is planned for March ... [it is possible] to open, maybe close, but at least open a number of chapters, so that the dynamic of the negotiations will be kept on," commissioner Olli Rehn said at a press conference in Brussels on Friday (20 February).
  • Slovenia and Croatia have been unable to agree on their common land and sea border since they both seceded from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. But a patch of the Adriatic Sea close to the Slovenian city of Piran, which Slovenia says would secure its ships direct access to international waters, is a particularly thorny issue that caused Ljubljana to block the opening or closing of 11 chapters of Croatia's 35-chapter package in December. "It is important that we find a solution that could help solve the border issue and would allow Croatia's EU accession negotiations to continue according to the negotiating framework," Mr Rehn said.
  • Croatia – an EU candidate since 2004 – is hoping to conclude EU accession talks by the end of this year, so that it can join the bloc by 2011. "Concluding the accession negotiations by the end of this year is a tall order," Mr Rehn told EUobserver. "If we can find a way forward on the border issue, and if Croatia works very intensively on the reforms, then the target date is within reach. But every day increases the risk that the timetable will slip," he warned. The Slovenia–Croatia blockage is the latest in a line of disputes blocking EU candidate countries. But commissioner Rehn denied this being a sign that new – political – criteria are being added during the accession talks with candidate or potential candidate countries.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.02.09: EU mediation needed in border dispute, Slovenia says - 0 views

  • An EU mediation group is the only solution to the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia, Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor has said.
  • Slovenia and Croatia have been unable to agree on their common land and sea border since they both seceded from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Particularly thorny is a patch of the Adriatic Sea close to the Slovenian city of Piran that would secure Slovenian ships direct access to international waters. In December, Ljubljana blocked the opening or closing of 11 chapters of Croatia's 35-chapter EU accession negotiations package over the issue.
  • But the process of Croatia becoming a full EU member is unlikely to be completed before a final solution to the border dispute is found, Slovenia's premier underlined. "If political parties represented in the house [the Slovenian parliament], or the civil society, or everybody else, would have the feeling that things are not going in the right direction, I'm very pessimistic that at the end of the day the house will vote in favour of Croatia's full EU membership if the [border] problem would not be solved," Mr Pahor said. "The best option would be to solve the problem [before]," he added. In addition, Croatia still has open border issues with neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia – which also aspire to become EU members in the long term – "and it will be very difficult to find a solution" to these disputes if the one with Ljubljana is not settled first, the Slovenian premier noted.
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