Croatia and Iceland first, Turkey and Macedonia to follow

Slovenia expects two new members

The EU enlarge­ment, and espe­cial­ly the EU enlarge­ment in the West­ern Balka­ns, remains a pri­or­i­ty for­eign pol­i­cy action for Slove­nia. As a con­se­quence, Slove­nia will con­tin­ue to work towards the con­ver­gence and inte­gra­tion of, above all, West­ern Balkan coun­tries (Croa­t­ia, Mace­do­nia, Mon­tene­gro, Alba­nia, Ser­bia, Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina, Koso­vo), but also Turkey and Ice­land into the EU.11Nation­al Assem­bly Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Dec­la­ra­tion about poli­cies for the oper­a­tion of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia in the EU insti­tu­tions dur­ing the peri­od Jan­u­ary 2010-June 2011, 3 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=201019&stevilka=810 (last access: 16 March 2010). Accord­ing to the state­ments of the Sloven­ian PM Borut Pahor in the media, Slove­nia expects that, in the next enlarge­ment round, the new mem­ber states of the EU will be Croa­t­ia and Ice­land. As stressed by Pahor in Decem­ber 2009, the EU should, how­ev­er, not post­pone this process after this enlarge­ment round. His esti­ma­tion was that in 2011 the EU will prob­a­bly have 29 mem­bers.22STA: Pahor na kon­fer­en­ci v Bruslju: EU naj ne poz­abi na Balkan, pred­vsem ne na BiH (Pahor at the Con­fer­ence in Brus­sels: EU should not for­get the Balka­ns, espe­cial­ly not the BIH), 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.sta.si/en/vest.php?s=a&id=1457333&pr=1 (last access: 18 March 2010).

Accord­ing to the Sloven­ian nation­al assem­bly, Croa­t­ia has start­ed a cru­cial stage of acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions. Despite the fore­casts by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion that Croa­t­ia should be able to fin­ish the acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions by the end of 2010, Slove­nia stress­es that the pace of nego­ti­a­tions and their poten­tial con­clu­sion entire­ly depend on the Croa­t­ian abil­i­ty to ful­fil the con­di­tions for clos­ing the remain­ing nego­ti­at­ing chap­ters. Based on the progress already made, Croa­t­ia needs to fur­ther strength­en its efforts in the areas of judi­cial reform, pub­lic admin­is­tra­tion, the fight against cor­rup­tion and organ­ised crime, the rights of minori­ties (includ­ing refugee return), and the tri­al for war crimes. Above all, the issue of grant­i­ng the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Tri­bunal access to the doc­u­ments of the for­mer Yugoslavia remains vital. Croa­t­ia should also active­ly strive for good neigh­bourly rela­tions and region­al coop­er­a­tion, includ­ing progress towards the elim­i­na­tion of bilat­er­al issues, par­tic­u­lar­ly open bor­der issues with Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina, Ser­bia and Slovenia.

Slove­nia also sup­ports the acces­sion of Ice­land. Accord­ing to the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia, Ice­land ful­fils the polit­i­cal cri­te­ria for EU mem­ber­ship. Its econ­o­my is already large­ly inte­grat­ed into the EU inter­nal mar­ket through its par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Euro­pean Eco­nom­ic Area. How­ev­er, the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia has stressed in its press release on the Commission’s enlarge­ment pack­age that each mem­ber­ship appli­ca­tion must be con­sid­ered on an equal foot­ing and that the prin­ci­ple of equal treat­ment also needs to be respect­ed in the case of Ice­land.33Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Press release by the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia on the on the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion enlarge­ment pack­age, 14 Octo­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.mzz.gov.si/nc/en/tools/cns/news/article/3247/26067/ (last access: 21 May 2010).

Membership of Turkey and Macedonia in the next enlargement round is being questioned

Regard­ing the coun­tries that are not expect­ed to become full mem­ber states in the next enlarge­ment round, the Sloven­ian Nation­al Assem­bly eval­u­ates that the acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions with Turkey have reached an advanced stage that calls for strength­en­ing the efforts to meet the nec­es­sary enlarge­ment con­di­tions. Turkey has to improve in a num­ber of areas in order to ful­ly meet the Copen­hagen cri­te­ria, includ­ing free­dom of expres­sion, free­dom of speech and reli­gious tol­er­ance. The acces­sion process with the EU gives Turkey a strong incen­tive to fur­ther strength­en democ­ra­cy, respect for human rights and fur­ther mod­ernise the coun­try. Turkey plays a key role in facil­i­tat­ing region­al secu­ri­ty and enabling the EU’s ener­gy sup­ply. In view of these facts, Slove­nia will con­tin­ue to sup­port the com­mit­ment of this coun­try for EU mem­ber­ship.44Nation­al Assem­bly Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Dec­la­ra­tion about poli­cies for the oper­a­tion of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia in the EU insti­tu­tions dur­ing the peri­od Jan­u­ary 2010-June 2011, 3 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=201019&stevilka=810 (last access: 16 March 2010).

Accord­ing to the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia,55Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Press release by the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia on the on the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion enlarge­ment pack­age, 14 Octo­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.mzz.gov.si/nc/en/tools/cns/news/article/3247/26067/ (last access: 21 May 2010). Slove­nia sup­ports the Euro­pean Commission’s deci­sion, based on Macedonia’s achieve­ments, to rec­om­mend that the Coun­cil of the EU begin acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions. This deci­sion is an impor­tant incen­tive and gives renewed impe­tus to the ful­fil­ment of rec­om­men­da­tions, which pro­vides sta­bil­i­ty and progress for the coun­try. Slove­nia will strive for these nego­ti­a­tions to begin with­in a rea­son­able time.

Need for strengthening and building relationships to the south and east

Regard­ing the East­ern Part­ner­ship and the Union for the Mediter­ranean, Slove­nia is high­ly aware of its his­toric and geo­graph­ic con­nec­tions with the Mediter­ranean and the East­ern Euro­pean EU neigh­bour­hood. There­fore, Slove­nia is inter­est­ed in fur­ther strength­en­ing the rela­tions between the EU and the group of coun­tries includ­ed in the Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy (ENP). Accord­ing to the Sec­re­tari­at-Gen­er­al of the Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia, Slove­nia will con­tin­ue to sup­port the prin­ci­ple of dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion as a key prin­ci­ple with­in the ENP and to strength­en the rela­tions with third coun­tries bor­der­ing the EU.66The Sec­re­tari­at-Gen­er­al of the Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Draft dec­la­ra­tion on the guide­lines for the func­tion­ing of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia in the EU insti­tu­tions dur­ing the peri­od Jan­u­ary 2010 – June 2011, 10 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: www2.gov.si/upv/vladnagradiva-08…/deklaracija%20cela09.doc (last access: 21 May 2010).

Regard­ing the Union for the Mediter­ranean, the Sloven­ian nation­al assem­bly stressed that it is of a great impor­tance for Slove­nia to pave the way for the estab­lish­ment of the Euro-Mediter­ranean Uni­ver­si­ty (EMUNI) as the orig­i­nal Mediter­ranean Union project, which con­tributes to the deep­en­ing of inter­cul­tur­al dia­logue, mobil­i­ty and the estab­lish­ment of a Euro-Mediter­ranean area of high­er edu­ca­tion and research.77Nation­al Assem­bly Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Dec­la­ra­tion about poli­cies for the oper­a­tion of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia in the EU insti­tu­tions dur­ing the peri­od Jan­u­ary 2010-June 2011, 3 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=201019&stevilka=810 (last access: 16 March 2010). Since the EMUNI, found­ed in June 2008, is based in Piran, Slove­nia, more atten­tion is paid to the Union for the Mediter­ranean. Accord­ing to Ivo Vajgl, Sloven­ian Mem­ber of Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and a mem­ber of the polit­i­cal par­ty Zares, which is, since 2008, part of the rul­ing coali­tion, the Union for the Mediter­ranean could sig­nif­i­cant­ly con­tribute to mar­itime con­nec­tions, the set­ting up of ener­gy infra­struc­ture, decreas­ing pol­lu­tion of the Mediter­ranean Sea, and boost­ing the inter­cul­tur­al dia­logue. Also, the lev­el of mutu­al under­stand­ing and tol­er­ance among dif­fer­ent cul­tures could be raised through coop­er­a­tion in high­er edu­ca­tion.88Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Office: MEP Stress­es Impor­tance of Euro-Mediter­ranean Uni­ver­si­ty, 28 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.ukom.gov.si/en/news/newsletter_slovenia_news/news/article/391/1426/e46c709064/?tx_ttnews[newsletter]=56 (last access: 16 March 2010).

As for the east­ern dimen­sion, it is impor­tant that the East­ern Part­ner­ship coun­tries are offered mech­a­nisms and instru­ments that have been iden­ti­fied dur­ing its cre­ation, in order to con­tin­ue their reform process and pos­si­ble EU inte­gra­tion.99Nation­al Assem­bly Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Dec­la­ra­tion about poli­cies for the oper­a­tion of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia in the EU insti­tu­tions dur­ing the peri­od Jan­u­ary 2010-June 2011, 3 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=201019&stevilka=810 (last access: 16 March 2010). The Pres­i­dent of Slove­nia, Dani­lo Türk, assessed the East­ern Part­ner­ship as a pos­i­tive process and under­lined that Slove­nia “would like to see the East­ern Part­ner­ship be strength­ened.” In his opin­ion, it is impor­tant to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the pos­si­bil­i­ties and capa­bil­i­ties of each indi­vid­ual part­ner state. Fur­ther­more, it would be inap­pro­pri­ate to reduce the rela­tion­ship with the east­ern neigh­bours only to the issue of ener­gy: “We need to look at a vari­ety of oth­er areas, includ­ing the ques­tion of strength­en­ing the democ­ra­cy and the coop­er­a­tion between dif­fer­ent reli­gions.”1010Office of the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic: Sloven­ian and Azer­bai­jani pres­i­dents address busi­ness peo­ple from both coun­tries, 10 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.up-rs.si/up-rs/uprs-eng.nsf/dokumentiweb/9A6526A0CC5F34B6C125766B0056F7E8 (last access: 16 March 2010).

    Footnotes

  • 1Nation­al Assem­bly Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Dec­la­ra­tion about poli­cies for the oper­a­tion of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia in the EU insti­tu­tions dur­ing the peri­od Jan­u­ary 2010-June 2011, 3 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=201019&stevilka=810 (last access: 16 March 2010).
  • 2STA: Pahor na kon­fer­en­ci v Bruslju: EU naj ne poz­abi na Balkan, pred­vsem ne na BiH (Pahor at the Con­fer­ence in Brus­sels: EU should not for­get the Balka­ns, espe­cial­ly not the BIH), 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.sta.si/en/vest.php?s=a&id=1457333&pr=1 (last access: 18 March 2010).
  • 3Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Press release by the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia on the on the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion enlarge­ment pack­age, 14 Octo­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.mzz.gov.si/nc/en/tools/cns/news/article/3247/26067/ (last access: 21 May 2010).
  • 4Nation­al Assem­bly Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Dec­la­ra­tion about poli­cies for the oper­a­tion of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia in the EU insti­tu­tions dur­ing the peri­od Jan­u­ary 2010-June 2011, 3 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=201019&stevilka=810 (last access: 16 March 2010).
  • 5Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Press release by the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia on the on the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion enlarge­ment pack­age, 14 Octo­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.mzz.gov.si/nc/en/tools/cns/news/article/3247/26067/ (last access: 21 May 2010).
  • 6The Sec­re­tari­at-Gen­er­al of the Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Draft dec­la­ra­tion on the guide­lines for the func­tion­ing of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia in the EU insti­tu­tions dur­ing the peri­od Jan­u­ary 2010 – June 2011, 10 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: www2.gov.si/upv/vladnagradiva-08…/deklaracija%20cela09.doc (last access: 21 May 2010).
  • 7Nation­al Assem­bly Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Dec­la­ra­tion about poli­cies for the oper­a­tion of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia in the EU insti­tu­tions dur­ing the peri­od Jan­u­ary 2010-June 2011, 3 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=201019&stevilka=810 (last access: 16 March 2010).
  • 8Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Office: MEP Stress­es Impor­tance of Euro-Mediter­ranean Uni­ver­si­ty, 28 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.ukom.gov.si/en/news/newsletter_slovenia_news/news/article/391/1426/e46c709064/?tx_ttnews[newsletter]=56 (last access: 16 March 2010).
  • 9Nation­al Assem­bly Repub­lic of Slove­nia: Dec­la­ra­tion about poli­cies for the oper­a­tion of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia in the EU insti­tu­tions dur­ing the peri­od Jan­u­ary 2010-June 2011, 3 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=201019&stevilka=810 (last access: 16 March 2010).
  • 10Office of the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic: Sloven­ian and Azer­bai­jani pres­i­dents address busi­ness peo­ple from both coun­tries, 10 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.up-rs.si/up-rs/uprs-eng.nsf/dokumentiweb/9A6526A0CC5F34B6C125766B0056F7E8 (last access: 16 March 2010).

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.