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European Union Foreign Ministers Confirmed EU’s Clear Course Towards Enlargement

15.12.2010

No. 396-E

Today in Brussels the European Union foreign ministers confirmed that accession negotiations with Turkey, Croatia and Iceland would continue and relations would be intensified with Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, keeping in mind that the future of those nations can also be in the European Union.

Estonia Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the European Union will continue with enlargement. “We would like for the European Union to be strongly committed to continuing the enlargement process and to be objective in terms of candidate states,” he added.

Urmas Paet noted that accession negotiations with Croatia have reached a crucial stage. The negotiations could be completed in 2011.

Paet said that Estonia supports European Union prospects for Western Balkans states. “We recognise the steps taken during the last year by nations in the region and encourage the Western Balkans to carry out necessary reforms,” said Paet.

Estonia supports giving candidate nation status to Montenegro and we also support starting accession negotiations when Montenegro has fulfilled the recommendations of the European Commission. “The recommendations primarily address increasing the transparency of the public sector, the autonomy of judicial power and the media, and the fight against corruption and organised crime,” he explained.

The European Commission has recommended starting accession negotiations with Macedonia and Albania as well, if the latter fulfils accession requirements and the recommendations of the European Commission to the necessary extent. The Estonian foreign minister expressed hope that through fulfilling the recommendations, Albania would show its desire and readiness to do everything necessary to become an EU candidate country. “First and foremost we expect Albania to promise political dialogue, elections in correspondence with international standards, a reduction in corruption and organised crime, and the protection of ownership and human rights. In Iceland’s case, the country’s readiness to join the EU is already very good. We hope that the EU will soon also enlarge in the direction of Northern Europe,” Paet added.

Paet stated that accession negotiations are also continuing with Turkey, although many chapters of negotiations have been frozen. “Continued reforms in Turkey are essential. It is also necessary to intensify the European Union and Turkey’s foreign political co-operation in the Middle East, Western Balkans, Afghanistan, and the Southern Caucasus,” said the foreign minister.

More information:
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson of the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE
+372 637 7654
pressitalitus@mfa.ee
 

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