There are reports that Slovenia is slowing down the accession negotiations with Croatia by preventing the chapter on freedom of movement of capitals from being closed, although Croatia has fulfilled all the necessary criteria. Macedonia’s name problems with Greece remain “in coma”.
That is why I read with great interest the report by Natasha Wunsch and Julian Rappold from DGAP about the EU accession of the Western Balkans. The authors outline two main reasons for the current enlargement fatigue: the early accession of Bulgaria and Romania, broadly viewed as a premature step, and the overwhelming focus on internal affairs that lets enlargement sink to the bottom of the list of priorities.
The authors warn that the slowing down of the accession process may lead to dangerous destabilization of the region. The economic consolidation in the region due to IMF intervention will be carried out at the cost of even the most necessary reforms. Social cuts also risk weakening the trust in the institutions. That is why according to the authors it is essential to mobilize all existing EU funds for the region and to facilitate their calling by the Western Balkan states.
Bulgaria, Romania and Greece were at the bottom of the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 for the European Union.
Denmark leads the index, followed by Sweden and Finland. Estonia and Slovenia are the least corrupt from the East European Member States.
Posted in Budget and Finance, Bulgaria, Institutional Affairs, Justice and Internal Affairs
Tagged Bulgaria, Corruption Perceptions Index 2009, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Transparency International
Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor has announced that the negotiations on the settlement of the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia would resume with EU mediation.
He also said that the Slovenian government would propose to the parliament to unblock Croatia’s accession talks.
This is good news indeed.
The Czech EU presidency has decided to cancel the intergovernmental accession conference with Croatia planned for June 26. The reason is the ongoing territorial dispute with Slovenia.
The accession negotiations with Croatia will remain blocked for an indefinite period of time. “This is a bilateral dispute, says the future Swedish presidency. “Responsibility for solving bilateral disputes rests with the countries themselves”.
While this is true, an important question is whether the bilateral disputes may effectively prevent future enlargement. There is more: “maintaining the credibility of integration prospects is very important, otherwise security in the Balkans could be severely undermined”, says Roland Berzani.
Croatia accepted an EU proposal to set up an expert group that would help solve its border dispute with Slovenia. At the same time Croatia stressed that such a group should lead to the issue eventually being brought before the International Court of Justice in the Hague. The expert group will be led by Martti Ahtisaari.
This is good news, since the territorial dispute with Slovenia hinders the accession process.