Croatia, Iceland, Turkey, Moldova

Croatia most likely to join the EU

As reflect­ed in the Roman­ian press,11Clau­dia SILAGHI: Croaţia la por­tile Uni­u­nii Europene. Ne dati ori nu ne daţi?, 29 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-international-7078414-croatia-portile-uniunii-europene-dati-ori-nu-dati.htm (last access: 17 May 2010). the most like­ly coun­try to join the EU is Croa­t­ia, fol­lowed by Ser­bia, despite the lag­ging dis­pute over Koso­vo. The focus is on the eco­nom­ic progress achieved by Croa­t­ia so far, as com­pared to coun­tries like Roma­nia and Bul­gar­ia – which are already mem­bers of the EU – and on the fact that inter­rup­tions and delays in Zagreb’s path towards EU mem­ber­ship were most­ly con­nect­ed to the con­se­quences of the armed con­flicts in the ear­ly 1990s. Some experts sug­gest that, should it not have been for the ter­ri­to­r­i­al dis­putes with Slove­nia, Croa­t­ia would have become an EU mem­ber in 2004.22Ibid.

Croatia’s efforts to meet the acces­sion cri­te­ria are viewed in a pos­i­tive light by Roman­ian offi­cials. On the occa­sion of a meet­ing between Roman­ian Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs Teodor Bacon­schi with Gor­dan Jan­droković, Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs and Euro­pean Inte­gra­tion of the Repub­lic of Croa­t­ia, the head of Roman­ian diplo­ma­cy “appre­ci­at­ed the accel­er­at­ed pace of nego­ti­a­tions for acces­sion to the Euro­pean Union, empha­sis­ing the impor­tant role the Repub­lic of Croa­t­ia plays in the region.”33Min­istry of For­eign Affairs: Roman­ian Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs Teodor Bacon­schi meets with Croa­t­ian Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs Gor­dan Jan­droković, press release, 30 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.mae.ro/index.php?unde=doc&id=15386&idlnk=2&cat=4 (last access: 18 May 2010).

The High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Euro­pean Union for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy, Cather­ine Ash­ton, under­lined44Româ­nia liberă: Cather­ine Ash­ton susţine orga­ni­zarea unui sum­mit pe tema inte­grării în UE a ţărilor din Bal­cani, 16 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.romanialibera.ro/actualitate/mapamond/catherine-ashton-sustine-organizarea-unui-summit-pe-tema-integrarii-in-ue-a-tarilor-din-balcani-177564.html (last access: 7 May 2010). the impor­tance of the pres­ence of Ser­bian pres­i­dent Boris Tadić at a sum­mit of Balkan coun­tries, organ­ised fol­low­ing a joint Sloven­ian-Croa­t­ian pro­pos­al.

As far as Iceland’s EU appli­ca­tion is con­cerned, the Roman­ian mass media under­lines that, despite seri­ous eco­nom­ic and finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties, Brus­sels con­sid­ers Reyk­javik a strong can­di­date for EU mem­ber­ship. Mate­ri­als tack­ling this top­ic focus on the rec­om­men­da­tions giv­en by the EU for the open­ing of acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions on grounds that Ice­land could almost imme­di­ate­ly finalise 24 out of 35 nego­ti­a­tion chap­ters. Through Ice­land, the EU could gain access to the Arc­tic region, which holds “strate­gic impor­tance”55Cristi­na OROVEANU: Islan­da în UE: dato­rie con­tra energie, Ade­vărul, 25 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.adevarul.ro/international/europa/Islanda_in_UE-_datorie_contra_energie_0_214779013.html (last access: 17 May 2010). due to its min­er­al resources.

Still No Perspectives for Turkey’s EU membership aspirations

The Roman­ian press points to Germany’s and France’s strong stances against Turkey’s EU bid as a major fac­tor which obstructs Ankara’s Euro­pean path. The Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel has reit­er­at­ed a “priv­i­leged part­ner­ship” sta­tus for Turkey, which, how­ev­er, does not mean any­thing more than already exists. The lib­er­al Mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment (MEP) Alexan­der Graf Lamb­s­dorff has even sug­gest­ed that the EU should intro­duce for cer­tain coun­tries – such as Turkey or Ukraine – an inter­me­di­ary mem­ber­ship sta­tus supe­ri­or to the so-called priv­i­leged part­ner­ship qual­i­ty.66William TOTOK: Ger­ma­nia în con­tin­uare împotri­va aderării Tur­ciei la UE, RFI, avail­able at: http://www.rfi.ro/stiri/externe/Germania-in-continuare-impotriva-aderarii-Turciei-la-UE.html (last access: 17 May 2010).

Roman­ian media deal­ing with the vis­it of Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan to Paris quote Cen­giz Aktar of Bahce­se­hir Uni­ver­si­ty in Istan­bul, who believes “that the most impor­tant result of the encounter was the fact that Pres­i­dent Sarkozy accept­ed the invi­ta­tion to [go to] Turkey at the end of this year.”77A. SIMSEK: Sarkozy stă în calea aderării Tur­ciei la UE, South­east Euro­pean Times, 20 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/ro/features/setimes/features/2010/04/20/feature-02 (last access: 16 May 2010). Unlike his pre­de­ces­sor, Jacques Chirac, under whose man­date Ankara start­ed acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions to the EU, Nico­las Sarkozy has blocked the open­ing of five out of the 35 manda­to­ry chap­ters of the acces­sion talks. Oth­er coun­tries, among which are Spain, Italy and the Unit­ed King­dom, are strong­ly in favour of Turkey’s EU appli­ca­tion, wel­com­ing its geostrate­gic role as a link to Islam­ic civil­i­sa­tions.

Moldova must maintain the current fast pace of reforms

The East­ern Part­ner­ship holds a par­tic­u­lar strate­gic sig­nif­i­cance for both Roman­ian deci­sion-mak­ers and the pub­lic opin­ion, being viewed as a chance to bring Ukraine and Moldo­va clos­er to the EU, which can only increase Romania’s and the EU’s secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty in the east­ern area. Roman­ian offi­cials strong­ly sup­port the East­ern Part­ner­ship and, par­tic­u­lar­ly, Moldova’s Euro­peaniza­tion efforts and, ulti­mate­ly, EU mem­ber­ship aspi­ra­tions, although the process is deemed by most ana­lysts as full of chal­lenges. Experts from think tanks main­tain a reserved yet rea­son­ably opti­mistic view on Moldova’s recent progress, stress­ing the need for it to con­tin­ue its cur­rent fast pace of reforms as set in the “Rethink Moldo­va” strat­e­gy. Cris­t­ian Ghinea and Vic­tor Chir­ilă88Cris­t­ian GHINEA/Victor CHIRILĂ: EU-Moldo­va nego­ti­a­tions – What is to be dis­cussed, what could be achieved?, CRPE, 11 May 2010, avail­able at: http://www.crpe.ro/eng/eu-moldova-negotiations (last access: 18 May 2010). believe this strat­e­gy of “pre-emp­tive imple­men­ta­tion” adopt­ed by Moldo­va will pay off in the medi­um and long-term, as Chişinău has already adopt­ed the set of pre-con­di­tions need­ed for a visa lib­er­al­i­sa­tion road map, with­out being asked to. The Roman­ian Pres­i­dent Bases­cu is more opti­mistic about Moldova’s Euro­pean des­tiny, empha­sis­ing the strate­gic part­ner­ship between the Repub­lic of Moldo­va and Roma­nia and aim­ing to sup­port Moldova’s Euro­pean inte­gra­tion.99Roman­ian Pres­i­den­cy Press release: Declar­aţie de presă comună a preşed­in­telui României, Tra­ian Băs­es­cu, şi a preşed­in­telui inter­i­mar al Repub­licii Moldo­va, Mihai Ghim­pu, 27 April 2010, avail­able at: http://cms.presidency.ro/?pag=59&year=2010&sid=12295&id_p=12296 (last access: 18 May 2010).

The Roman­ian jour­nal­ist Flav­ius Ţone analy­ses some of the find­ings of a report by Andrew Wil­son, who rec­om­mends the stim­u­la­tion of a pos­i­tive com­pe­ti­tion between Ukraine and Moldo­va and a refrain­ing from any hos­tile actions against Roma­nia.1010Flav­ius ŢONE: Cum poate fi Ucraina menţin­ută lângă Europa, Ade­vărul, 29 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.adevarul.ro/international/foreign_policy/Cum_poate_fi_Ucraina_mentinuta_langa_Europa_0_233977086.html (last access: 7 May 2010). Par­tic­u­lar atten­tion is also paid to the con­tra­dic­tions sur­round­ing Ukraine’s Euro­pean aspi­ra­tions, in a con­text in which Kyiv seems set to choose a prag­mat­ic rap­proche­ment to Rus­sia instead of the time-con­sum­ing EU acces­sion process.

As far as the Union for the Mediter­ranean is con­cerned, press cov­er­age has focused on iden­ti­fy­ing con­nec­tions between the Black Sea and the Mediter­ranean, high­light­ing the need for an inte­grat­ed approach to Euro­pean mar­itime secu­ri­ty (Black Sea – Mediter­ranean Sea – Baltic Sea).1111Min­istry of For­eign Affairs press release: For­eign Min­is­ter Teodor Bacon­schi meets with the Min­is­ter of Polit­i­cal Devel­op­ment from the Hashemite King­dom of Jor­dan, Dr. Musa Maay­tah, 7 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.mae.ro/index.php?unde=doc&id=15302&idlnk=2&cat=4 (last access: 17 May 2010). This top­ic is tack­led from the per­spec­tive of the con­crete solu­tions it could offer for region­al issues of shared inter­est, such as the Arab-Israeli peace process.

    Footnotes

  • 1Clau­dia SILAGHI: Croaţia la por­tile Uni­u­nii Europene. Ne dati ori nu ne daţi?, 29 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-international-7078414-croatia-portile-uniunii-europene-dati-ori-nu-dati.htm (last access: 17 May 2010).
  • 2Ibid.
  • 3Min­istry of For­eign Affairs: Roman­ian Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs Teodor Bacon­schi meets with Croa­t­ian Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs Gor­dan Jan­droković, press release, 30 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.mae.ro/index.php?unde=doc&id=15386&idlnk=2&cat=4 (last access: 18 May 2010).
  • 4Româ­nia liberă: Cather­ine Ash­ton susţine orga­ni­zarea unui sum­mit pe tema inte­grării în UE a ţărilor din Bal­cani, 16 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.romanialibera.ro/actualitate/mapamond/catherine-ashton-sustine-organizarea-unui-summit-pe-tema-integrarii-in-ue-a-tarilor-din-balcani-177564.html (last access: 7 May 2010).
  • 5Cristi­na OROVEANU: Islan­da în UE: dato­rie con­tra energie, Ade­vărul, 25 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.adevarul.ro/international/europa/Islanda_in_UE-_datorie_contra_energie_0_214779013.html (last access: 17 May 2010).
  • 6William TOTOK: Ger­ma­nia în con­tin­uare împotri­va aderării Tur­ciei la UE, RFI, avail­able at: http://www.rfi.ro/stiri/externe/Germania-in-continuare-impotriva-aderarii-Turciei-la-UE.html (last access: 17 May 2010).
  • 7A. SIMSEK: Sarkozy stă în calea aderării Tur­ciei la UE, South­east Euro­pean Times, 20 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/ro/features/setimes/features/2010/04/20/feature-02 (last access: 16 May 2010).
  • 8Cris­t­ian GHINEA/Victor CHIRILĂ: EU-Moldo­va nego­ti­a­tions – What is to be dis­cussed, what could be achieved?, CRPE, 11 May 2010, avail­able at: http://www.crpe.ro/eng/eu-moldova-negotiations (last access: 18 May 2010).
  • 9Roman­ian Pres­i­den­cy Press release: Declar­aţie de presă comună a preşed­in­telui României, Tra­ian Băs­es­cu, şi a preşed­in­telui inter­i­mar al Repub­licii Moldo­va, Mihai Ghim­pu, 27 April 2010, avail­able at: http://cms.presidency.ro/?pag=59&year=2010&sid=12295&id_p=12296 (last access: 18 May 2010).
  • 10Flav­ius ŢONE: Cum poate fi Ucraina menţin­ută lângă Europa, Ade­vărul, 29 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.adevarul.ro/international/foreign_policy/Cum_poate_fi_Ucraina_mentinuta_langa_Europa_0_233977086.html (last access: 7 May 2010).
  • 11Min­istry of For­eign Affairs press release: For­eign Min­is­ter Teodor Bacon­schi meets with the Min­is­ter of Polit­i­cal Devel­op­ment from the Hashemite King­dom of Jor­dan, Dr. Musa Maay­tah, 7 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.mae.ro/index.php?unde=doc&id=15302&idlnk=2&cat=4 (last access: 17 May 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.