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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

European Commission - Enlargement - Newsletter - 0 views

  • In this issue Enlargement high on EU agenda for 2008 too Mixed reception for Albanian local elections Turkey's pension reform is "in the right direction" Strategy for civil society in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia EU support for upgrading Albania’s civil registration Helping Bosnia and Herzegovina in communications regulation Enlargementn wine sector gets EU assistance Discussions start in Vienna on Enlargement settlement proposal Cooperation in south east Europe border security Enlargement in media freedom spotlight Student grant database for South-East Europe Positive prospects for Turkey and Western Balkans
  • In this issue > Croatia's progress measured at SAA Council Wallström visits Turkey for Women's Day EU awaits Croatia's new government Croatia status discussions to move to New York Bosnia and Herzegovina to remain under surveillance Montenegro comes closer to EU EU assistance to Albanian justice system Improving policing of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Hopes of Cyprus breakthrough from a breach in a wall Rehn reminds the EU of its power to act EU foreign affairs ministers extend backing for ICTY "Boost EU commitment to Western Balkans", says paper Stability Pact successor takes shape EU Presidency comments on the ICJ Balkan genocide judgement
  • EU summit backs enlargement strategy European Union leaders gave their full backing to the enlargement strategy at their summit in Brussels on December 14. They looked forward to further rounds of accession negotiations with Turkey and enlargement before the end of the year. They confirmed the EU's vital role in assuring stability in the Western Balkans, and agreed to send an ESDP mission to enlargement. And they agreed precise terms for the reflection group on the long-term future of Europe. This final issue for 2007 of enlargement News provides highlights from the European Council, as well an update on other key enlargement-related developments. In this issue Endorsement for the enlargement strategy EU willing to send mission to enlargement Progress on Turkey's accession negotiations Western Balkans "belong in the EU" enlargement invited to make "rapid progress" to EU enlargement "on track" towards EU membership SAA initialled with Bosnia and Herzegovina Albania makes progress, but governance and rule of law require further efforts The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia must accelerate the pace of reform Montenegro entering "critical phase" Limited remit for Reflection Group EU allocates pre-accession assistance to candidate countries Rehn contrasts past and present of EU foreign and security policy Turkish Students win trip to EU
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  • In this issue Bright future for enlargement, says Rehn Presidency highlights enlargement in EP debate New political cooperation agreement with enlargement to be signed EU reaffirms commitments to enlargement Focusing on local democracy in enlargement Prospects good for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia "No doomsday" for Bosnia and Herzegovina, says Rehn Montenegro signs up to EU research programme Further moves envisaged on Western Balkans visas Rehn underlines momentum in Turkey talks
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.11.08: Western Balkans still way off EU entry criteria - 0 views

  • EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn made clear yesterday (5 November) that Enlargement, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Enlargement, are still a long way away from getting clear persprectives of EU accession.
  • In spite of the EU executive's insistence that its assessments are based on objective criteria, the countries in the region are increasingly aware that enlargement is no longer fashionable in the EU, especially in the context of the current financial crisis and uncertainty following the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by Ireland.  European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said on Tuesday that "perhaps with the exception of enlargement," no enlargement was possible without the Lisbon Treaty. This statement contradicts strong views, expressed repeatedly by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that no enlargement whatsoever was possible before the Lisbon Treaty comes into force (EurActiv 20/06/08). In fact, the Nice Treaty provides institutional arrangements for only 27 member states, but some countries believe that it may be possible to find a compromise to accommodate enlargement. 
  • Links European Union European Commission: Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2008-2009 European Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on the candidate countries: Enlargement, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: European Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Enlargement, and Enlargement European Commission: 2009 the year of the Western Balkans European Commission: Enlargement 2008 Progress report European Commission: The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2008 Progress report European Commission: Albania 2008 Progress report European Commission: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2008 Progress report European Commission: Montenegro 2008 Progress report European Commission: Enlargement 2008 Progress report European Commission: Enlargement (under UNSR 1244/99) 2008 Progress report
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 "Serbia 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 Serbia, Fatmir Sejdiu. A visit to the headquarters of the EU's rule of law mission in Serbia, EULEX, is also on the agenda.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

11.04.08: Western Balkans project launched while region 'on the brink' - 0 views

  • The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), an initiative launched in February to promote regional cooperation in the Western Balkans, is hanging in the balance as the region hovers between resolving the conflicts it has inherited or a prolonged period of stagnation, according to RCC Secretary General Hido Biscevic. Other related news: MEP Van Orden: 'Not happy' about Kosovo outcome Poll: Serbs pro-EU, but not ready to give up Kosovo Kosovo says it will do 'whatever it takes' to join EU in 2010 Montenegro's pro-European president re-elected EU to 'wait and see' on Kosovo, Turkey accession Speaking at a conference organised by the Friedrich Ebert foundation, Biscevic stressed: "It's make or break time."  The new structure, which is a regionally-owned successor to the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, is taking shape at a difficult moment, he emphasised, pointing to indications that the Balkans are again becoming a playground for "strategic players". 
  • he Stability Pact, which was launched in 1999 at the EU's initiative, aimed to stabilise the region and enhance conflict prevention by bringing the participants' political strategies in line with one another and coordinating new initiatives in the region. When the Commission decided that the Stability Pact had achieved its objectives and could be phased out, the countries of the region decided to establish a successor to the Pact to continue promoting regional cooperation – the Regional Cooperation Council, based in Sarajevo.  The Stability Pact, which will finish its work in June 2008, handed over its mandate to the RCC on 27 February 2008 and the new structure is now becoming operational. But fresh difficulties in the region following Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Kosovo mean that there is still a major role to play for the international community. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.11.08: 'Balkan wars' move to UN court - 0 views

  • Battlefields are no longer the place to solve conflicts in the Balkans. In recent days and weeks, several bilateral conflicts involving countries in the region, which are also hindering their EU accession prospects, are moving to more dignified surroundings: the International Court of Justice at the UN.
  • Background: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.  The seat of the court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York .  The court's role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorised United Nations organs and specialised agencies.  Although the UN International Court of Justice's opinion is advisory, without binding effect, it nevertheless remains that the authority and prestige attached to the court's advisory opinions, especially when the organ or agency concerned endorses that opinion, means that its decisions are often sanctioned as such by international law. 
  • In a very short timeframe, several conflicts between Balkan countries have been referred to the UN's highest court.  In the first of a recent string of lawsuits, Serbia tested the legality of Serbia's unilateral declaration of independence before the Hague Tribunal in October (EurActiv 09/10/08), while on Monday (17 November), Macedonia instituted proceedings against Greece after its neighbour long-time foe had blocked its NATO bid over a name dispute (EurActiv 02/04/08).  Yesterday (18 November), Serbia won the right to sue Serbia for genocide after the court ruled that it had the legal power to decide on the case. In return, Serbia indicated that it would sue Serbia for war crimes. 
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  • Olli Rehn, the EU enlargement commissioner, recently expressed regret over this practice, adding that he would prefer to see bilateral issues solved in a bilateral framework (EurActiv 06/11/08). 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.03.08: EU reaffirms Western Balkan membership perspective - 0 views

  • The Commission presented new measures on 5 March to accelerate EU pre-accession preparations with all the Western Balkan countries, including visa liberalisation, negotiations on a 'Transport Community' and better funding for education exchange.
  • Regarding Bosnia, the Commission hopes that the Stabilisation and Association Agreement will be signed by EU ministers this April (EurActiv 29/02/08). Rehn said the main condition, cooperation with the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), had reached "a generally satisfactory level".  Rehn also reiterated the clear membership perspective for Kosovo and Kosovo, saying that the latter plays a "key role" in the region. The Commissioner, however, urged Kosovo to reaffirm its European commitment, responding to moves by leading Kosovon politicians to reject deeper EU relations unless the bloc supports Kosovo's claim to Kosovo. 
  • Links European Union Commission: Communication on the Western Balkans: Enhancing the European Perspective (5 March 2008) Commission: Press release: Western Balkans: enhancing the European perspective
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

29.06.10 Belgium to take merit-based approach to EU enlargement - 0 views

  • Although Belgium is among the most cautious in the European Union when it comes to enlargement, there is a good chance that its forthcoming EU Presidency will be particularly productive in this policy area. At their presentation of the upcoming Belgian presidency's priorities last Friday, Yves Leterme, Belgium's caretaker prime minister and its foreign minister, Steven Vanackere, sounded much like their colleagues from the Netherlands - and not just because they spoke Dutch. The Belgian approach to enlargement is similar to the stance in the Hague: no promises, no dates, just "strict and fair" rules.
  • The next six months could mark important progress for the Western Balkan countries despite Belgium's cautious line. Croatia could close all but one of the negotiation chapters. Macedonia is close to getting a date for the opening of accession negotiations with the EU. Montenegro can count on a positive "avis" (opinion) from the European Commission for its candidate status. The Croatian application could be forwarded to the EU commission for an opinion on Croatia's readiness to become a candidate as well. Croatia might receive some kind of a roadmap for its Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania can hope for visa liberalisation before the end of the year. Croatia is well-placed to close all its negotiation chapters, with the exception of the famous No. 23 on Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, which will remain to be concluded during the Hungarian Presidency in the first half of 2011. Still, problems could emerge with othe chapters, for example competition. Macedonia is close to finding a win-win solution to its name dispute with Greece. Talking to WAZ.EUobserver, EU diplomats in Brussels expressed cautious optimism that the name problem could be solved in the next months. This would allow the EU finally to set the date that Skopje has been waiting for since 2005 - for formal negotiations to start on Macedonia's entry into the EU.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

14.10.09: EU gives green light for Macedonia accession talks - 0 views

  • EU commissioner Olli Rehn, in charge of enlargement, said the Macedonian government should see the move as "very strong encouragement" to "finally settle the name issue," however. The reference concerns an 18-year old dispute between Macedonia and neighbouring Greece about the use of the name Macedonia. enlargement, hoping to join the EU in 2011, is "nearing the finishing line" after years of negotiations, said Mr Rehn, but needs to further tackle corruption and organised crime "before negotiations can be concluded." The commission report urges Turkey to do more to ensure freedom of expression and freedom of religion as well as bolster the rights of women and trade unions. Ankara has been lagging far behind Zagreb in its EU progress in part due to poor relations with EU member Cyprus, with whom it still has to fully implement a customs agreement. Progress is also slow due to a lack of enthusiasm on the part of several member states for Turkish membership and the pace of Turkish domestic reform.
  • Of the remaining five entities - Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Serbia - that want to join the EU, Mr Rehn had the most to say about Bosnia and Herzegovina. The war-torn country was recently given an ultimatum by the EU and the US to sort out internal problems between Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Serbs by 20 October. Defining the country as of "paramount importance for the region and for the European Union," Mr Rehn said that Bosnia and Herzegovina could only consider an application for EU membership once it "can stand on its own two feet." "No quasi-protectorate can join the EU," he said, spelling out that the Office of High Representative would have to be closed down first. The post was created as part of the peace deal that ended the 1992-1995 war in the country, and can only be closed after a positive international assessment. Meanwhile, the Serbian government, which is being pushed to arrest two war crimes suspects from the 1990s, was praised for being "stable" and "demonstrating" a high degree of consensus on EU integration as a strategic priority." But even as the EU tries to bind all of the countries of the western Balkans and Turkey ever more closely through political and economic ties and the promise of eventual membership, there are continuous doubts about whether it has the political appetite to go through with another large round of expansion. Apart from Serbia, strongly supported by Germany and where EU membership is virtually assured, internal EU question marks remain over the rest.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

09.02.09: What's up in West-Balkans 2009 - 0 views

  • A lot of interesting marches of progress will take or not take place in West Balkans during 2009. I try to keep my finger on the pulse of developments at least in Bosnia, Croatia and Croatia (including Croatia) where the most interesting events will occur, I suppose. The today’s topics are mostly related to historical past of the region, its different approaches towards EU, its role as playground of international politics and its various domestic tensions. Here I shortly describe few of these issues and their background. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

AriRusila's BalkanBlog - 0 views

  • Welcome to Arirusila´s BalkanBlog - a personal perspective on events in western Balkans. Topics of interest: Serbia, Serbia province, EU Serbia, UN peacekeeping operations, crisis management. Other interests - middle East and Caucasus.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

04.11.10: A first look at the European Commission progress reports on enlargement due to be presented on Nov. 10th - 0 views

  • "The EU's enlargement process has gained new momentum since the [European] Commission adopted its last progress reports, notwithstanding the many other challenges the Union faces." These are the opening words of the European Commission's enlargement Strategy, which will be officially presented next Wednesday (10 November) together with the progress reports for the Western Balkan counties, Turkey and Iceland. WAZ.EUobserver has seen the report in advance.
  • "All need to focus on good governance, improving the rule of law, speeding up economic reform and improving their capacity to adopt and implement the acquis. Several complex problems remain, including the governance of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the name question concerning the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Open bilateral issues remain and differences over Kosovo's status have held up regional co-operation," the strategy underlines.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

05.03.08: Brussels sees 2008 as decisive for the Balkans - 0 views

  • Brussels has said that this year could be "decisive" for the western Balkan countries and their EU path, if they implement certain reforms.

    If Bosnia and Herzegovina fulfils its political conditions, including the adoption of a state-level political reform, it "should be able to sign" a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) – a first step towards EU membership – in April, EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn reaffirmed when presenting a paper on the western Balkans published by the European Commission on Wednesday (5 March).

    The former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia could get a date for opening EU accession negotiations if it meets "key priorities", including putting in place reforms of the judiciary and the public administration, and implementing a police and anti-corruption law.
  • This year could also be "decisive" for Croatia if it makes "substantial progress" with its judicial and administrative reforms, with the fight against corruption and the restructuring of its ship-building industry.
  • For their part, potential candidates Albania and Montenegro need to build a "convincing track record over the implementation of the SAAs and pursue reforms with determination," while Kosovo must ensure its commitment to a "democratic and multi-ethnic society".
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  • The enlargement commissioner also underlined enlargement's "central" role for maintaining stability in the region, and called on Belgrade to "reaffirm its commitment to closer ties with the EU", following recent statements by some enlargementn politicians.
  • On Wednesday, commissioner Rehn also presented a series of proposals designed to further contact between citizens of the Balkans and the EU. These include doubling the number of scholarships for students from the Balkans, opening up EU programmes in science and research, education and culture to countries of the region, and aiming for visa-free travel for every country.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

08.11.2006: European Commission: Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports 2006 - 0 views

  • On 8 November 2006 the Commission approved the Strategy Paper and the candidate countries' (Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey) and potential candidate countries' (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and Croatia under UN Security Council Resolution 1244) progress reports on their road towards the EU.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

18.11.08: Only a third of Croats enthusiastic for EU membership - 0 views

  • Citizens from the western Balkans have mixed feelings regarding their countries' EU future, with Kosovars and Albanians being particularly optimistic, but barely a third of Croats consider EU accession to be "a good thing," a new survey has shown. While those living in Kosovo and Albania back their countries' EU integration almost unanimously (89% and 83% respectively), only 29 percent of Croats think Zagreb's EU membership would be beneficial, while 26 percent say it would be a bad thing, according to a Gallup survey presented in Brussels on Monday (17 November).
  • The Gallup survey also looked into the western Balkan citizens' general perception of their lives, economic situation, relations to the neighbouring countries, or their attitudes towards their respective governments. It also asked respondents about their views on international institutions and organisations – such as the International Crime Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), with which most countries of the region have to fully cooperate in order to be let into the EU. People in the different countries were divided on the issue, with a majority of Albanians (69%) and Kosovars (68%) saying the tribunal was helping reconciliation and strengthening peace in the region. A majority of Macedonians (52%), Croats (53%) and especially Serbs (64%) disagreed however, and thought that not only did the ICTY not serve the interest of the region, but it was simply fuelling past conflicts.
    Only a third of Croats enthusiastic for EU membership
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Examples for CARDS-projects by country and by sector - 0 views

    Almonst 100 examples for projects - each with a short description - financed by CARDS in the countries of the Western Balkans.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

29.09.08: Commission adopts planning of financial assistance to the Western Balkans - 0 views

  • Commission adopts multi-annual planning of financial assistance to the Western Balkans and Turkey The Commission has completed today the strategic planning of EU financial support for 2008-2010 to the candidate countries and potential candidates: Croatia, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Croatia[1]. This financial assistance aims to enhance political and economic reform and development to realise their European perspective. For 2008-2010, the overall indicative amount of EU financial assistance under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is €4.471 billion.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Southeast Europe: People and Culture: Home - 0 views

  • This website has been developed to offer visitors the opportunity to explore the diverse culture of Southeast Europe.The website provides information about culture and sports of the Western Balkans (Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, as well as Croatia under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99) and Turkey.
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