EP’s view on Croatian, Macedonian and Turkish EU hopes
12. February 2010. | 08:16
Source: Sofia News Agency
The European Parliament has given a positive overall verdict on efforts in 2009 by Croatia and FYRMacedonia to qualify for EU membership.Progress on concrete reforms remained limited in 2009, says the resolution on Turkey drafted by Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted by show of hands.
The European Parliament has given a positive overall verdict on efforts in 2009 by Croatia and FYRMacedonia to qualify for EU membership.
In resolutions debated and approved on February 10 2010, MEPs also underlined the limited progress made by Turkey towards meeting the "Copenhagen" EU eligibility criteria for EU membership.
Issues such as the rule of law, freedom of expression, good neighbourly relations, treatment of ethnic minorities, women's rights and the fight against corruption and organised crime must still be addressed by Croatia, FYRMacedonia and Turkey, the European Parliament’s resolution said.
Accession negotiations with Croatia could be wound up in 2010 and Croatia's successful accession would give a "positive impetus" to the process of integrating the rest of the Western Balkans region within Europe, says the resolution drafted by Hannes Swoboda and adopted by 582 votes to 24, with 37 abstentions.
MEPs are nonetheless concerned that public support for membership is diminishing in Croatia, a European Parliament media statement said.
Croatia is expected to "co-operate fully" with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and allow the Court access to documents requested for use in war crimes trials, the European Parliament said.
Arrangements for solving the bilateral border dispute with Slovenia "have created the momentum to open all remaining chapters", the EP resolution said.
"The Council should decide ‘as soon as possible’ to open the ‘Judiciary and Fundamental Rights’ chapter of the negotiations. Of the 35 chapters, 28 have been started and 17 have been provisionally completed.
With negotiations with the government in Skopje expected by MEPs "to begin in the near future", the European Parliament asks the Council to confirm, at its March 2010 summit, that it accepts the European Commission's recommendation that negotiations be opened.
They back the Greek government's suggestion of a "symbolic and motivational target date of 2014" for the EU accession of Western Balkan countries, in a resolution drafted by Zoran Thaler and adopted by 548 votes to 45, with 35 abstentions.
On the issue of the country's name, Parliament asks the governments in Skopje and in Athens to "redouble their efforts at the highest level to find a mutually satisfactory solution to the name issue". According to MEPs, the EU should be ready to assist in the negotiation process.
Progress on concrete reforms remained limited in 2009, says the resolution on Turkey drafted by Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted by show of hands.
The European Parliament said that the opening of negotiations in 2005 was the starting point for "a long-lasting and open-ended process".
MEPs deplore the non-implementation of the Additional Protocol to the EC-Turkey Association Agreement for the "fourth consecutive year". "Failure to do so may further seriously affect the process of negotiations," they said in the resolution.
MEPs also "regret" the constitutional court's decisions to close the Democratic Society Party (DTP), and to annul the legislation limiting the jurisdiction of military courts. They say these are "a serious setback in Turkey's reform efforts" and therefore call for the constitution to be reformed.
The Turkish government should contribute "in concrete terms" to the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue, say MEPs.
By immediately starting the withdrawal of its forces from the northern part of the island and addressing the issue of settlements of Turkish citizens, Turkey would help "facilitate a suitable climate for negotiations".
As positive news from Ankara, MEPs cite the broad public debate on issues within the so-called democratic opening, and a law removing restrictions on broadcasting in Kurdish. They also appreciate the diplomatic efforts made to normalise relations with Armenia but ask that the relevant protocols be ratified. In addition, they acknowledge Turkey's role in regional security (Black Sea and Middle-East).
MEPs welcomed the signing of the Nabucco Pipeline agreement and call for the opening of the energy chapter in the accession negotiations. Twelve out of the 35 chapters have so far been opened. The environment chapter was opened in December 2009.