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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Estonia Supports Giving European Union Candidate Country Status to Serbia and Starting Accession Negotiations with Montenegro


No. 396-E

At a meeting of the foreign and European affairs ministers of the European Union in Brussels, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia supports giving Serbia European Union candidate country status, starting accession negotiations with Montenegro, continuing accession negotiations with Iceland and Turkey, and also beginning accession negotiations with Macedonia*. Estonia also feels that steps must be taken to bring Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo closer to the European Union.

“We feel a trustworthy enlargement policy is important—one that offers candidate countries the prospect of joining when they fulfil criteria and that evaluates each candidate country objectively in accordance with its progress,” said Paet.

In October the European Commission published an enlargement progress report in which it evaluated progress and shortcomings over the past year in Croatia, Turkey, Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. Paet stated that in the opinion section published along with the progress report, the Commission proposed that in response to Serbia’s accession application the country should be granted candidate state status.

“Estonia also supports starting accession negotiations with Serbia,” Paet noted. “In addition, Estonia supports the European Commission’s proposal to start accession negotiations with Montenegro, which has fulfilled the goals set by the Commission, as well as Macedonia,” he added.

Paet feels that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania’s chances to move forward in integrating with the European Union are dependent on the countries’ political ability to carry out the necessary reforms. “We must guarantee a clear European Union perspective for Kosovo,” emphasised the Estonian foreign minister. “Therefore we support starting a visa dialogue with Kosovo and finding opportunities to conclude a trade and framework agreement,” he asserted.

The Council was also preparing for the accession conference with Iceland on 12 December. “We are very pleased with Iceland’s successful progress in accession negotiations,” Paet stated. “In order to move forward with Turkey’s accession process, Estonia strongly supports the European Commission’s plan for a positive action plan for European Union-Turkey relations, which would include areas of common interest and would complement accession negotiations,” he said. “We believe it is particularly important to have a foreign policy dialogue with Turkey, as well as co-operation in the fight against terrorism and the energy sector and dialogue on the topics of visas, mobility, and immigration,” the foreign minister added.

Along with the progress report the European Commission also published a positive assessment of Croatia joining the European Union, and the signing of Croatia’s accession agreement is now scheduled for the European Council on 9 December 2011. Following a successful ratification process, Croatia should become a European Union member state on 1 July 2013.

Additional information:
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson, Estonia’s permanent representation to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

* Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

+372 637 7654



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