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Estonia Supports EU Candidate Country Status for Albania and Membership Talks with Serbia and Macedonia

18.12.2013

At the European Union General Affairs Council, where the state of play of the European Union enlargement policy and developments in both current and future candidate countries were analysed, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stressed that Estonia supports granting candidate country status to Albania, beginning membership talks with Serbia and Macedonia*, and opening new negotiating chapters with Turkey and Montenegro.

When speaking about developments in Serbia and Kosovo, Foreign Minister Paet recognised the positive steps taken as a result of the mediation of European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton and emphasised that the situation in North Kosovo requires continued effort and will from both sides. “Serbia has shown commitment in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and the opening for negotiations to join the EU should take place in January of next year,” he said. Negotiations with Kosovo about a stabilisation and association agreement began in September and it is hoped that the process will be concluded by spring 2014.

A report from the European Commission this fall suggested, not for the first time, to open membership negotiations with Macedonia, which have thus far been bogged down by the question of the country’s name. According to Paet, Estonia supports opening membership negotiations with Macedonia. “Moving forward would provide an incentive to resolve the name questions and would be a force that could unite the different nationalities,” he stated.

In the assessment of the Estonian foreign minister, it is important that membership negotiations with Turkey and Montenegro move forward in the chapters dealing with rule of law.

According to Paet, Albania has done good homework and fulfilled the necessary conditions to grant it the status of candidate country. “Granting candidate status would both inspire the new government and recognise the achievements of the previous government regarding EU-directed efforts, as well as increasing the possibility of positively involving Albania in the integration process,” he noted.

The enlargement of the European Union is based on fulfilment of strict conditions which contain structural reforms and programmes to increase competitiveness. To aid in implementing these reforms, the European Union uses the IPA II, an aid instrument whose size in the next budget period (2014-2020) will be 11.7 billion Euros.

*Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia


More info:
Marika Post
Spokesperson
Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU
+32 474 981 657

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