Magazine article Europe-East

State of Play : A Glass Half-Full and Half-Empty

Magazine article Europe-East

State of Play : A Glass Half-Full and Half-Empty

Article excerpt

Looking at progress the Western Balkans and Turkey made last year on their EU membership bid, one can say that the glass is half-full and half-empty at the same time. Despite some unfavourable conditions, both within the EU (delay in ratification of the Lisbon Treaty) and in the countries in question (political turmoil in Turkey and crisis in the Balkan region caused by Kosovo's declaration of independence), considerable progress has been achieved, especially in such countries as Croatia, Serbia, Albania and Montenegro. Following its declaration of independence issued in February, Kosovo has also got on the right track. At the same time, however, the integration process has lost its impetus in Turkey, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Both these developments are reflected in the European Commission's enlargement package, to be issued on 5 November. In its report on Croatia, the Commission acknowledges that Zagreb might be able to conclude its talks by the end of 2009, allowing its accession treaty to be signed in 2010 and full Croatian membership in 2011. Reporting on Serbia, the Commission speaks positively of Belgrade's prospects, warning, however, that much still depends on its cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). In practice, this means that in order to move forward on its membership bid, Serbia needs to receive a positive report in December from the UN Prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, on its efforts to arrest the two remaining fugitives, including Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander accused of genocide against Bosnian Muslims. …

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