SME Chamber

Integration Progress Reports: Croatia, Turkey and FYROM

 The EP adopted three resolutions on the candidate countries for accession and their progress in 2008. On Croatia, MEPs regret that accession negotiations have been blocked because of the border dispute with Slovenia. MEPs welcome the readiness of Croatia and Slovenia to accept the mediation offer made by the Commission. Furthermore Croatia should also work harder in areas such as fighting organized crime and corruption. Moreover, it believes that Croatia should put more effort into modernizing the judicial sector.

On the other hand, the resolution says that Croatia has improved mostly in areas such as anti-discrimination and women's rights. The Parliament emphasizes the need to concentrate on economic and social rights of minorities. Croatia also has to decrease its current deficits and debts. MEPs are satisfied with the privatization processes in the steel and telecommunications industries. In the near future, Croatia should also work toward privatizing shipyards. In all, the Parliament is confident that negotiations with Croatia can be concluded in 2009.

The "continuous slowdown of the reform process" in Turkey, for the third consecutive year, is noted with concern by the EP. Turkey has so far started only 10 of the 35 negotiating chapters with the EU. Only one chapter which is science and research has been concluded. In relation to democratic reforms, MEPs regret that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are still not fully protected in Turkey. MEPs also regret that the initial effort to reform the constitution resulted in dispute over the headscarf issue and generated further polarisation of society. MEPs also urge that the law on political parties be amended. The draft resolution also calls on the Turkish government to resume work on a new civilian constitution and to take action to reduce the number of "honour killings" of women.

MEPs welcome the approval of the National Programme for the Adoption of the so-called "Acquis communautaire" and the establishment of the ‘Women-Men Equal Opportunities Commission' in the Turkish Parliament. The resolution stresses the need to reach "a comprehensive settlement" of the Cyprus question based on UN Security Council resolutions. MEPs point out that if Turkey's commitments are not fulfilled by December 2009, it will seriously affect the process of negotiations. MEPs added that Ankara must commit itself to a lasting settlement of the Kurdish issue.

MEPs ask the Council to decide on a date for the beginning of accession negotiations with FYROM. MEPs underline the need for FYROM and Greece to find a mutually acceptable solution on the name issue while reiterating their support for the UN-brokered mediation process. MEPs also welcome the progress MEPs also ask the authorities in FYROM to ensure the freedom of the press. Parliament deplores the disadvantaged position of the Roma minority in the country and asks the government to act. MEPs ask the Government of FYROM to improve the waste facilities of the country and preserve the quality and level of the water in the border water basins.

Parliament welcomes the progress made by the country in a number of areas, including visa issues, fight against human trafficking, illegal migration, a functional market economy, progress in the management of the Instrument for pre-accession assistance and progress in the area of Parliament calls FYROM for solidarity with its neighbours with regards to the culture and history and warns against the resurgence of "hate speech".

Source: MEUSAC General Affairs Committee Update





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