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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.06.11: EU hopes Croatia can be lesson to Balkans and West - 13 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' - 9 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 - 13 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 - 18 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

31.03.11: EU enlargement fatigue is myth, MPs are told - 3 views

  • Fule called on the Serbian authorities to increase their efforts in conducting the reforms necessary to get a positive opinion on Serbia's EU membership application.
  • He named eight priorities in the process: justice reform, fight against organized crime and corruption, changes to electoral legislation, making sure regulatory bodies function efficiently, property rights, human rights, regional cooperation and cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
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

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

EUobserver / Romania threatens Croatia in Schengen dispute - 0 views

  • Romania is threatening to create problems for Croatia's EU accession bid in a diplomatic counter-attack against delays to its own entry into the EU's border-free Schengen zone. Romanian foreign minister Teodor Baconschi in an interview with the daily newspaper Adevarul on Monday (3 January) attacked Germany and France for linking Romania's Schengen bid to progress on corruption and organised crime.
  • EUobserver understands that this option is not really feasible however, as the monitoring was a jointly agreed commitment of Bulgaria and Romania when they joined the bloc. "It's unwise to give it up if you want something else at the same time," one EU official told this website. For its part, Croatia has already been held hostage by its neighbour Slovenia, which in recent years delayed its EU accession progress over a maritime border dispute. Romania's sabre-rattling seems to be directed primarily at Germany - Croatia's main supporter in the EU - rather than the Balkan state itself. But it could, in theory, delay the process. Croatia is hoping to finish EU accession talks in the coming months. EU governments and the European Parliament then have to approve and ratify its accession treaty, with membership likely to happen in 2013 if everything goes smoothly.
  • Mr Petkov's allegations reflect a dire image painted by EU officials in talks with US diplomats in Sofia, as reported in a US cable dating back to 26 June 2009 and published by WikiLeaks. Under the headline "How to you make them reform when they don't want to?" the US diplomats spoke of EU commission officials' "growing and by now extreme frustration with Sofia's cosmetic fixes to get a 'good report' while failing to undertake real reforms." "The government's defensive arrogance - and lack of political will - is intensifying enlargement fatigue in Brussels," an EU source told the US diplomat. "According to reliable contacts, Brussels Eurocrats have dubbed enlargement fatigue the 'Bulgarian Break,' further tarnishing Bulgaria's bad image within the EU," the cable added.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Hungary outlines EU presidency priorities (SETimes.com) - 0 views

  • Hungary, which is due to replace Belgium at the EU helm on January 1st, has said that further consolidation and enlargement of the 27-nation bloc will be among the key priorities of its six-month chairmanship of the Union.
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

10.12.10 The US assessment of EU-policy towards Kosovo and Serbia - insights from Wiki... - 0 views

  • The EU's "low profile" mission in Kosovo and the "fatigue" shown by Europeans on the independence issue are failing to address the increasing threat of partition in the northern part of Kosovo, a fresh set of US cables released by WikiLeaks shows just as Kosovars head to the polling stations on Sunday (12 December).
  • With five EU member states still not having recognised the independence of Kosovo and a certain "fatigue" emerging on the issue, US diplomats fear that Europe will cave in to Serb pressure for the northern part of the country to be split off - a development which could trigger ethnic violence.
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: Greece: EU should consider setting 2018 as a goal for the hopefuls in the Bal... - 0 views

  • The European Union should give western Balkan states a target date for accession to the bloc in a bid to bolster democratic reforms in the region and invigorate EU enlargement, Greece's foreign minister said on Monday. Dimitris Droutsas said the EU could consider setting 2018 as a goal for hopefuls in the Balkans to become members but that only countries that are fully ready should be allowed to join. Greece would aim to seek consensus among EU member nations for such a date -- for states including Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia -- when it holds the bloc's rotating presidency in 2014, he said. "We can adopt a political declaration that sets a specific, ambitious and realistic goal for completing the accession process for western Balkans," Droutsas said at a seminar in Brussels where he was to attend an EU foreign ministers meeting.
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