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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.
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29.05.10: EU debt crisis must not hurt Balkan entry hopes: Serbia - 0 views

  • Serbia's president on Saturday warned the financial crisis gripping Europe must not be allowed to derail the Balkans' hopes of joining the European Union, ahead of a crunch summit with the bloc."The policy of the European Union's enlargement must not be interrupted at any price," President Boris Tadic told a conference of regional leaders, held in Sarajevo ahead of a vital EU-Balkans summit on June 2.
  • Tadic was meeting with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic and their colleagues from the Bosnian tripartite presidency, namely Muslim leader Haris Silajdzic.Officials and media across the Balkans have expressed concern that the ongoing debt crisis could slow down the enlargement process, with new members perceived as a potential threat to the bloc's financial stability.
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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.
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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. 
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30.08.10: Serbia open to EU compromise on Kosovo - 0 views

  • Cracks in Serbia's long-uncompromising position on Kosovo appeared on the weekend as President Boris Tadic said his country is open to discussing a compromise over its UN General Assembly resolution. In July, following a ruling by the International Court of Justice that Kosovo's 2008 unilateral declaration of independence was not in violation of international law, Belgrade submitted a resolution with the General Assembly declaring "unilateral secession is not an acceptable way to solve territorial issues" and calling for a "mutually acceptable solution to all open issues".
  • Last week, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle bluntly told Serbia: "Kosovar independence is a reality," and: "The map of southeastern Europe has been laid down and completed." He also suggested that Belgrade's acquiescence on this fact was necessary before Serbia could join the EU, despite five existing member states refusing to recognise the breakaway region.
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20.07.10: Serbia, Croatia to stop 'looking back at the past' - 0 views

  • Croatian President Ivo Josipović paid his first official visit to Serbia yesterday (18 July), during which he discussed resolving all open issues with his host, Serbian President Boris Tadić. Josipović said the two countries, which were at war from 1991 to 1995, no had longer any reason to "look back at the past". BETA agency, EurActiv's partner in Serbia, reports.
  • The two presidents told a news conference later on that they each supported the European integration of the other country. The presidents also said the issues that were standing in the way of better relations between the two countries included those of refugee returns in Croatia, the border dispute between Serbia and Croatia, the question of missing persons, minority issues and the protection of minority rights. As for Croatia's genocide suit and Serbia's counter genocide suit before the International Court of Justice (see 'Background'), Tadić said he supported an out-of-court settlement, while Josipović said the genocide charges were the result of certain problems and if they could be solved out of court, then "all the better for that".
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German FM: Bosnia 'Must Focus on Reform' for EU - 0 views

  • German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has said Bosnia would had a clear European Union membership perspective - if its ethnic leaders could stop arguing and focus on reforming the country’s constitution. “Bosnia and Herzegovina has a clear European perspective, but the road to Europe leads through internal dialogue and the unity of the country,” Westerwelle told journalists after meeting top Bosnian officials in Sarajevo, on the third leg of his three-day tour of the Balkans. Westerwelle said Germany expected all political actors in Bosnia to “start working on constitutional reform with courage, energy and good will” immediately after October 3 general elections in the country.
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22.07.10: Kosovo independence no violation of law, finds International Court of Justice - 0 views

  • By a 10-4 majority, the judges of the International Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that the unilateral declaration of independence by the then-Serbian province of Kosovo did not violate international law. In something of a fudge that will leave no one happy, the non-binding ruling found that as there are no provisions in international law restricting independence declarations, such as that pronounced by Kosovo on 17 February, 2008, the new state is neither abiding by international law nor in violation.
  • Serbian President Boris Tadic reacted to the ruling by saying: "Serbia of course will never recognise the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo because it believes that unilateral, ethnically motivated secession is not in accordance with the principles of the United Nations." However, Mr Tadic went on to say that Belgrade would now seek another UN resolution in order relaunch talks over Kosovo, and Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic urged Serbs in northern Kosovo to not be provoked into violence.
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01.09.10: Final agreement between Serbia and EU over Kosovo in Brussels? - 0 views

  • Serbia President Boris Tadic agreed yesterday with British Foreign Minister William Hague that ‘Brussels is the address at which a compromise over resolution that Serbia has filed to the UN General Assembly should be looked for’, ‘Blic’ learns from High Serbian source. The same source also says that Hague has not requested from Tadic directly that Serbia withdraws its resolution, but expressed doubt that a resolution can be amended.
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09.09.10: Serbia and EU reach breakthrough on Kosovo resolution - 0 views

  • Eleventh-hour talks between the EU and Serbia have seen Belgrade accept an EU-friendly draft resolution on the thorny question of Kosovo ahead of a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) vote on the text in New York on Thursday (9 September). "This draft resolution will now be a resolution put forward by 28 European countries. All 27 EU member states and Serbia will be co-sponsoring this draft resolution," EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said in a communique out late on Wednesday.
  • The new resolution also "welcomes the readiness of the EU to facilitate the process of dialogue," effectively shifting the venue for future talks from the United Nations, where 122 out of 192 members do not recognise Kosovo, to the EU sphere, where five out of 27 members do not recognise it.
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31.08.10: EU tells Serbia to give up Kosovo 'last battle' - 0 views

  • Serbia has tabled an initiative to push through a resolution in the UN General Assembly declaring unilateral secession by Kosovo as "unacceptable". But major EU countries warned Belgrade that it should seek solutions to its problems in Brussels, not New York. Beta agency, EurActiv's partner in Serbia, reports.
  • Unhappy with the International Court of Justice's ruling that Kosovo's independence declaration did not violate international law (EurActiv 23/07/10), Serbia has taken the issue to the UN, hoping for a more sympathetic approach from its members to the issue of territorial integrity. The draft resolution calls for fresh talks on all outstanding issues, but also condemns Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. Belgrade plans to get it adopted at a session which starts in mid-September. As reported by international agencies, the EU has warned Belgrade that insisting on the resolution could harm relations with Brussels and eventually its aspirations to join the EU.
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10.09.10: Brussels concerned by Macedonian attitude - 0 views

  • It is time for a decision on the Macedonian name issue' was the message delivered in no uncertain terms by EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov during a meeting in Brussels. Macedonia received a positive assessment from the Commission last November on its general preparedness for EU membership, clearing the way for the country to start EU membership talks. In the EU Council, however, the move was blocked by Greece, which is grumbling over the long-standing name issue.
  • Brussels diplomats say they are confused by the Macedonian attitude. For a long time, Greece had been the hesitant party, trying to avoid a solution. "This time, the position of Greece is very clear, we have the impression that they have moved and made an effort in the right direction and we wait for Skopje's response which is not coming", one diplomat said.
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10.09.10: Internal discussions in Serbia on UN adoption of Kosovo Resolution - 0 views

  • Belgrade has praised the UN General Assembly's adoption of a resolution on Kosovo that calls for dialogue between the state and Serbia. Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said the decision on Thursday night was an important move as it ended the process Serbia had started by requesting a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice, ICJ, on Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence.
  • Some opposition parties in Serbia were quick to label the adoption "a defeat and shame for the Serbian people". Dragan Todorovic from the opposition Serbian Radical Party, SRS, called Thursday's adoption the "most shameful and hardest hit" that Serbia had suffered in its history. "Everyone who watched the session could see how Serbia has lost Kosovo, for which it has been fighting for generations in only one way," Todorovic told Balkan Insight.
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10.09.10: Kosovo Hails 'Victory' With UN GA Resolution - 0 views

  • Kosovo's government has declared a victory at the UN General Assembly after it adopted a resolution calling for talks between Pristina and Belgrade. Officials in Pristina said on Friday that the modified resolution supported by all the EU member states and the US was in "full harmony with the new reality in Kosovo". The modified document, agreed by Belgrade after two days of intense pressure from Brussels, excludes the issue of Kosovo’s status in future dialogue with Serbia.
  • But, not everyone in Kosovo saw the new resolution as a "done deal" with Serbia. Ibrahim Makolli, the vice president of the Kosovo’s opposition party, the New Kosovo Alliance, AKR, told Balkan Insight: “I don’t see any reasons why Kosovo’s government is euphoric in this event since it was not a participant in drafting this document.” Makolli said Serbia’s agreement with the EU on the resolution should worry Kosovo’s government. “Kosovo’s government needs to know what the promises are from the EU to Serbia for this compromise. In fact, they know, but they are silent,” he said.
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24.09.10: Kosovo in New York - 0 views

  • After Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov took his turn among a succession of heads of state and government to have talks with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the start of the General Assembly’s new season, the UN’s news service said that Kosovo had topped the agenda, specifically the prospects for talks between Belgrade and Priština.Given hopes in diplomatic circles that on the sidelines of the General Assembly talkfest, an arrangement could be brokered to open negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo, the topic of the Borissov-Ban discussions was hardly a surprise – especially given Bulgaria’s desire to take the lead in helping to get the Western Balkans on an even keel.
  • These developments all preceded what many hoped would be a turning point in New York – a scheduled September 23 meeting between EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and  Tadić, at which – or so it was hoped – there would be some agreement on starting an EU-brokered set of talks between Belgrade and Priština, including a starting date for the dialogue.On September 20, Ashton met Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaçi. Media in Priština said that Thaçi had told Ashton that Kosovo was prepared to talk to Serbia about matters of mutual interest, but with the issues of Kosovo’s status decidedly off the agenda.
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08.09.10: EU should facilitate Kosovo-Serbia talks, show new muscle - 0 views

  • A rare combination of events offers the EU the opportunity to help Serbia and Kosovo resolve their differences, establish relations and unblock their paths to further European integration. The 22 July International Court of Justice (ICJ) opinion that found Kosovo's declaration of independence violated no international law or UN Resolution, a September discussion in the UN General Assembly on Kosovo, an invitation to mediate by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, and unprecedented domestic support for Prime Minister Hashim
  • Possibly, it only wants talks that discuss Kosovo's status, inherently delaying other countries' decisions to join the 69 states that have already recognised. But this delaying tactic is not going to work, and there will be no EU facilitated dialogue if Serbia does not accept to sit down with Kosovo as an equal. The encouraging news is that some high level officials in Serbia seem to recognise this. They are interested in moving forward with their EU candidacy and feel Kosovo as an albatross holding them back. They want to find mutually acceptable solutions with Pristina which could pave the way for recognition.
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Wunsch/Rappold (2010) DGAP Papers: Western Balkans: EU Enlargement in Crisis - 0 views

  • The global financial and economic crisis has had a severe impact upon the economic and political situation all over Europe. The Western Balkan countries, however, suffer doubly from the current situation: The crisis increased the EU member states’ enlargement fatigue while at the same time threatening the positive development of South East Europe’s economies over the past years. The EU accession of the region thus becomes an even more distant prospect at a moment when the EU’s support is crucial to prevent a destabilization of the region. The targeted distribution of existing EU funds and the drafting of a strategy inspired by “Europe 2020” could contribute to the economic consolidation of the region. These steps should be accompanied by political measures such as the speeding up of Croatia’s accession negotiations and the granting of the candidate status to the other countries.
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26.10.10: Serbia rushes to launch accession talks - 0 views

  • The EU moved closer to starting accession talks with Serbia yesterday (25 October) after overcoming long-standing opposition from the Dutch government. Belgrade said a "new era" in its history had begun. BETA, EurActiv's partner in Serbia, contributed to this article.
  • Meeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers found a formula to unblock the launch of accession talks with Serbia. The diplomatic jargon adopted accommodates the Netherlands' demand that any further step in Serbia's EU accession must be conditional on Belgrade's cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The move became possible after Belgrade agreed to engage in talks with Kosovo, its former province, whose declaration of independence in 2008 Serbia does not recognise. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said he was satisfied that the compromise text had put "pressure" on Serbia to fully cooperate with the ICTY. Steven Vanackere, Belgium's foreign minister, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, praised the "good balance" of the text. In fact, Belgium made a huge contribution to successfully reaching the compromise. It had to step aside from its own national position as its duty at the EU’s helm is to seek a common position. Jean de Ruyt, Belgium's EU ambassador, told EurActiv that his country's stance on the need for full cooperation with ICTY mirrored the Dutch view.
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AriRusila's BalkanPerspective » Blog Archive » Bosnia on the road to the EU, ... - 0 views

  • Despite international community’s state building efforts in Bosnia the country is splitting parts Since war 15 years ago foreign aid has exceed USD 80 bn for artificial creature designed in Dayton agreement aiming multi-ethnic state with EU perspective. As a result Bosnia is now even more divided, with less national identity, 20 percent of population living under the poverty line, with a nightmare triple administration plus international supervising making the country as worst place in Europe to do business west of Ukraine, even as it seeks to join the European Union. (Bosnia this year ranked 116th in World Bank’s ease of doing business index.)
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10.10.10: Rethinking needed after Bosnian elections - 0 views

  • In my earlier article - Bosnia on the road to the EU, sorry to Dissolution - I described a bit the background and made some small forecast about outcome which seems to be not so far away from reality. Now elections are held and most votes counted. Turnout in the vote — the sixth general elections in Bosnia since the end of the 1992-95 war - was some 56 percent, the highest since 2002 (in 2006 the turnout was 55.3 percent).The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has assessed that the elections were generally in line with international standards for democratic elections, although certain areas, including ethnicity and residence-based limitations to active and passive suffrage rights, require further action.
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