Busek: Avis should Act as Stimulant for Reforms

Brussels - Based on today's [9 November] positive opinion of the European Commission on its recent EU membership application, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has made another important step towards EU integration. Stability Pact News 9/11/2005

"The prospect of EU membership is the single most important driving force behind the much needed reform process throughout South Eastern Europe. Now that this perspective has been clearly reiterated, the government in Skopje must demonstrate its commitment to the EU enlargement process by intensifying its efforts to meet the membership criteria," Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe Erhard Busek said. "Regional co-operation is a key requirement of the EU accession process and the Stability Pact will continue to assist the country in meeting this crucial membership obligation."

Today's avis of the European Commission is a positive sign to the region as a whole and should be seen by the countries of Western Balkans as a clear indication of the European Union's firm commitment to the region. This has recently been reinforced by the start of negotiations with Croatia on EU membership and with Serbia and Montenegro on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement. The prospective opening of such talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina and the on-going negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association agreement with Albania, which are well on track, show that the whole region is clearly moving in the right direction.

The upcoming European Summit in December will have to take a decision on how to proceed after the opinion given by the European Commission. "There is a growing unease in SEE about the EU's commitment to continued enlargement. Therefore, today's presentation of the enlargement strategy is of crucial importance for the political and economic development of the region as it clearly signals that the EU perspective for each and every country in the Western Balkans remains a priority", Special Co-ordinator Busek said.

For further information, please contact Stability Pact's Spokesperson
Mr Dragan Barbutovski at the SP Secretariat in Brussels
(Tel: +32 2 401 87 25 or press@stabilitypact.org).

inserted by Florian GRUBER on 2005-11-10 09:16:48