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Estonia Supports EU Candidate Country Status for Serbia and the Start of Accession Negotiations with Montenegro


Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that Estonia supports the start of European Union accession negotiations with Montenegro and the granting of EU candidate country status to Serbia. “Enlargement is useful for the EU as a whole and helps us address global challenges more effectively,” said Paet. “It is important to Estonia that the enlargement process continues to follow the same guidelines that were agreed upon and that those countries that have made progress are allowed to take corresponding steps forward. This will make the enlargement process trustworthy,” he added.

The foreign minister noted that Estonia approves of the European Commission’s recommendation to start accession negotiations with Montenegro according to a concrete action plan that covers some of the most complicated topics first, such as the legal system, basic rights, and justice and interior issues. “After becoming a candidate country in December 2010, Montenegro has made progress in fulfilling the Copenhagen political criteria. Results have already been seen in the reforming of the legal system, an election law has been approved, and progress has been made in the area of media freedom,” he said. “But future efforts are needed to strengthen rule of law and to combat corruption and organised crime,” he asserted. Paet said that it would be possible to start EU accession negotiations with Montenegro as early as January 2012.

According to Paet, Estonia supports giving candidate country status to Serbia, taking into consideration Serbia’s progress in carrying out reforms and its co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. “Hopefully it will soon be possible to name a date for starting accession negotiations,” he added.

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