Southeast European media roundup on EU-related issues 21-27 Apr 05

Southeast European media roundup on EU-related issues 21-27 Apr 05

BBC Monitoring Service – United Kingdom
Apr 28, 2005

For queries and feedback please contact Duty Editor, Europe, on
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The following is a round-up of media reports on EU-related issues from
applicant countries in Southeastern Europe on 21-77 Apr 05


Accession Treaty

Akhmed Dogan, leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, a junior
partner in the coalition government, said after the signing of the
Accession Treaty, that many difficulties lay ahead but that the main
task of the future government would be to speed up the increase in the
living standards of Bulgarians.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Saxe-Coburg-Gotha thanked the European
partners, the governments and parliaments of the member states for
their support and assistance throughout the accession process and
expressed hope that the member states would ratify the treaty of
accession in due time to allow for the actual accession of Bulgaria
and Romania on 1 January 2007.

(Khorizont Radio, Sofia, in Bulgarian 1300 gmt 26 Apr 05; BGNES web
site, Sofia, in Bulgarian 1701 gmt 25 Apr 05; BTA web site, Sofia, in
English 25 Apr 05)

Nuclear plant

Commenting on the issue of the reactors of the Kozloduy nuclear power
plant, two of which are to be closed at the insistence of the EU but
in the face of opposition within Bulgaria, Akhmed Dogan said Bulgaria
would have to do everything possible to keep its place in nuclear
power generation. According to him, raising this issue is linked to
the coming parliamentary elections but it would annoy the European
Council and the European Parliament..

(BGNES web site, Sofia, in Bulgarian 1701 gmt 25 Apr 05)


Croatia/The Hague

Prime Minister Ivo Sanader reiterated that he could not say whether
fugitive Gen Ante Gotovina is in Croatia on the basis of the available
information. Asked in an interview with the BBC Croatian Service what
he would do if he saw Gotovina in the street, he said: “Quite
logically, he would immediately be extradited to The Hague.” At
present he had no information about whether Gotovina was being
protected by the Croatian security and intelligence services, but he
had replaced two heads of the security services due to insufficient
cooperation, he said.

Speaking to journalists after talks with EU leaders in Luxembourg,
Sanader denied that he had had a “show-down” with chief Hague
prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who had also attended the meeting. Sanader
said he would request information from The Hague indicating that
Gotovina was either in Croatia or Bosnia-Hercegovina, adding that
Zagreb has been in “daily contact” with the tribunal. He said he had
not expected the talks to produce anything new, but that the
information he had conveyed in Luxembourg had been “well-received”.

President Mesic also said he was certain Gotovina was not in Croatia
and he called on him to surrender to the Hague tribunal: “If Kosovo
Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who certainly deserves more credit
for the liberation of Kosovo than Gotovina does in Croatia, could
surrender to the Hague tribunal, Gotovina should do the same”.

Mesic also said after chairing the weekly National Security Council
session that the relevant Croatian authorities were stepping up
efforts to resolve all outstanding issues in connection with General
Gotovina and Croatia’s cooperation with the Hague tribunal, adding: “A
whole network is at work here and that network is being dealt with”.

(HINA news agency, Zagreb, in English 0915 gmt 26 Apr 05; Croatian
Radio, Zagreb, in Croatian 1300 gmt 27 Apr 05; HINA in English 0926
gmt 26 Apr 05; 1513 gmt 23 April)

Croatia/EU/regional cooperation

The first session of the Council of Europe-sponsored Adriatic
Euroregion has been held in the Croatian coastal town of Pula. The
Adriatic Euroregion includes the coastal areas of Italy, Slovenia,
Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia-Montenegro and Albania and is
aimed at establishing networks of cooperation and foundations for
joint EU-funded projects.

(HINA news agency, Zagreb, in English 1150 gmt 22 Apr 05)


A commentary in the Globus weekly said that “everybody in the EU
understands that British interests stand behind” the postponement of
EU-Croatia talks, or rather, “the interests of the part of its
leadership that does not want Croatia to enter the EU independently,
without the other republics of the former Yugoslavia, especially

It says that “the utterly cold attitude of British diplomats,
especially Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Minister for Europe Denis
MacShane” stems from the fact that Serbia has always been “Britain’s
natural ally and a country on which Britain relied, considering it to
be the leader in the West Balkans region”.

The weekly said that Croatia should try to open negotiations on EU
accession before 1 July, when Britain assumes the EU presidency, since
Jack Straw and Denis MacShane “would certainly do everything in their
power to have Croatia enter the EU in about 2012, together with Serbia
and Macedonia”.

“Croatia would be a hostage to Serbia and its millions of unsolved
problems. That is why it is important for talks to begin in June, so
all the problems will be left to Serbians to solve without an innocent
Croatia being blackmailed along with them,” the weekly said.

(Globus, Zagreb, in Croatian 5 Apr 05)


Macedonia/EU accession

“Integration of the countries of the region into the Euro-Atlantic
structures is our mutual goal,” Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva said
at a meeting with NATO and EU ambassadors. “Enhanced economic presence
of the EU in the Balkans will speed up the integration processes of
the countries in the region,” she added.

According to Theodor Waigel, Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski’s adviser
for financial and economic issues, European Commissioner for
Enlargement Olli Rehn “intends to visit Macedonia before the European
Commission makes a decision on the country’s candidate status” this
autumn. “If the government and parliament proceed with the necessary
reforms, Macedonia has solid chances to become candidate country for
EU membership,” he added.

The Macedonian government received an additional 189 questions from
the European Commission, referring to incomplete answers mainly
regarding agriculture, labour and social policy, economy, justice,
finance, internal affairs and foreign policy. The European Commission
expects to receive answers to the additional questions by 10 May 2005.

(MIA news agency, Skopje, in English 1202 gmt 26 Apr 05, 1919 gmt 20
Apr 05, 1242 gmt 22 Apr 05)

Macedonia/The Hague

Justice Minister Meri Mladenovska-Gjorgjievska visited in Scheveningen
the Macedonian nationals Ljube Boskovski and Johan Tarculovski,
indicted by the Hague tribunal for violation of laws of war in
Ljuboten, where seven ethnic Albanian villagers were killed in August
2001. Mladenovska-Gjorgjievska told them the government had decided to
allocate funds for covering part of their defence costs. The
government will also cover the expenses of their families for four
visits to The Hague.

(MIA news agency, Skopje, in English 1422 gmt 26 Apr 05)

The Hague Prosecution completed the court procedure for four cases
regarding the 2001 conflict in Macedonia and will return them to
Macedonia, Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said.

The cases on the shutting of the Lipkovo dam, the abuse of Mavrovo
workers, the Neprosteno mass graves and the National Liberation Army
leadership will be returned to Macedonia.

(MIA news agency, Skopje, in English 1357 gmt 25 Apr 05)

Macedonia/bilateral relations

“Relations with Russia are Macedonia’s priority,” President Branko
Crvenkovski said, adding that the two nations “have been connected by
a deep, historical friendship, and both countries express strong
political will to develop such relations in all spheres”.

(MIA news agency, Skopje, in English 1447 gmt 25 Apr 05)

President Branko Crvenkovski congratulated Bulgaria and Romania on the
occasion of the two countries signing the EU Accession
Treaty. “Macedonia will continue on its European road and it expects
new quality in relations and an enrichment in its cooperation with the
EU,” the president said. “Bearing in mind joint efforts for a united,
democratic and prosperous Europe, I am convinced that the cooperation
with these two friendly states will not only resume, but will also be
intensified,” he added.

Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov said that “the process of EU
enlargement is irreversible and the Republic of Macedonia must be
included in it”.

(Makfax news agency, Skopje, in Macedonian 1224 27 Apr 05; MIA news
agency, Skopje, in English 1340 gmt 27 Apr 05)

Macedonia welcomes a positive assessment of the Feasibility Study
granted to Serbia-Montenegro, Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski said at a
meeting with Serbia-Montenegro Foreign Minister Vuk
Draskovic. According to Buckovski, Macedonia will keep on supporting
Serbia-Montenegro’s efforts for the start of negotiations on the
Stabilization and Association Agreement.

Asked about Belgrade’s stance on Macedonia’s dispute with Greece over
the name, Draskovic said that Belgrade had no such problem with
Skopje. “No-one in Serbia-Montenegro is questioning the name, the
language and the state,” Draskovic said.

(MIA news agency, Skopje, in English 1604 gmt 22 Apr 05; Makfax news
agency, Skopje, in English 1106 gmt 22 Apr 05)

President Branko Crvenkovski met Adnan Terzic, chairman of the
Bosnia-Hercegovina Council of Ministers. Terzic told Crvenkovski that
Bosnia-Hercegovina hoped to receive a positive opinion for
negotiations on signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement
with the EU. He pointed out that Macedonia’s experiences will be of
great assistance to Bosnia-Hercegovina.

(MIA news agency, Skopje, in English 1227 gmt 21 Apr 05)


EU accession treaty

During the signing ceremony of Romania’s Accession Treaty to the
European Union, President Traian Basescu said that Romania’s goal was
not to become a mere new EU member. “Romania is preparing itself to
play a full part in shaping up a common future and play it
enthusiastically and according to the rules agreed upon. We will
assume our share of responsibility and solidarity. We can contribute
to economic growth, the security and cohesion of the union, because we
are taking seriously our part in increasing security at a large
portion of the EU eastern borders, and because we are sharing the
vital interest of strengthening the Union as a space of freedom,
security and justice,” he said.

(Rompres web site, Bucharest, in English 1740 gmt 25 Apr 05)

Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu said that it was a truly
historic act. “The signing of the Accession Treaty to the European
Union marks the country’s European success, the same as the accession
to NATO meant its Euro-Atlantic success,” Ungureanu said.

European integration Minister Ene Dinga said that Romania had to
successfully finalize its accession process on schedule. “The
following 20 months will be highly difficult. But there is political
resolve as well as technical and financial support for the commitments
to be met according to the schedule and the standards agreed upon,”
Dinga said.

(Rompres news agency, Bucharest, in English 1702 gmt 25 Apr 05)

Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said there were still tasks
ahead of Romania. “… Many reforms are still to be implemented, many
things are still to be done. It won’t be an easy job, but it won’t be
impossible to meet all requirements and all commitments that we have
undertaken. What we should all keep in mind is that we don’t make
reforms for EU’s sake, but Romania’s future. Meeting the European
requirements is the shortest way to modernize Romania and make it
catch up in its development process,” he said.

(Rompres news agency, Bucharest, in English 1140 gmt 25 Apr 05)

Relations with Ukraine

Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu told Ukrainian President Viktor
Yushchenko that Romanian wanted a partnership with Ukraine, in which
Romania could support Ukraine on its path towards EU and NATO
membership. He said Romania could offer training to Ukrainian experts
on issues related to EU accession. He referred to the opportunities EU
funds offer for cross-border and regional development projects.

(Rompres news agency, Bucharest, in English 0638 gmt 22 Apr 05)

Chamber of Deputies’ Deputy Speaker Daniela Popa said that the
Romanian parliament backed Ukraine’s democratization and stability as
well as deeper cooperation and partnership relations on the path to
Euro-Atlantic integration. Popa thanked the Ukrainian president for
its support in Romania’s EU bid. “In the name of the Romanian
parliament and Romanian people we thank you for the remarks on the
progress made by Romania in its EU integration moves. Your pro-Western
attitude is often strongly underscored and it has stirred interest
both in Eastern and Western Europe,” she said. She said Romania had
confidence in the European future of the neighbouring country. “Based
on the experience gained, we wish to offer Ukraine our support on the
way to the European family. We firmly believe that the visit to
Romania will contribute to the further development of the cooperation
and friendship relations between our two countries and peoples,” Popa

(Rompres news agency, Bucharest, in English 1444 gmt 21 Apr 05)

President Traian Basescu and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor
Yushchenko agreed to resolve the issues between the two states at
bilateral level, without taking them to the court in the Hague. A
joint commission will to be set up headed by the two presidents
themselves. The commission will deal with the most difficult issues:
the Dniester region conflict, the issue of the national minorities in
both countries and the divergence concerning the Bystre canal.

The two presidents also supported the Republic of Moldova’s
pro-European orientation and agree that a quick solution to the
Dniester region conflict would lead to the consolidation of the
security in the region and in Europe.

They confirm in their joint statement the interest in enhancing
cooperation actions in multilateral forums and international
organizations in order to strengthen the stability of democracy and
security in Europe, in the Black Sea region and worldwide in
partnership with the EU and NATO.

(Rompres news agency, Bucharest, in English 1359 gmt 21 Apr 05),
(Rompres news agency, Bucharest, in English 1444 gmt 21 Apr 05)


Romanians will be allowed to travel to the UK without visas only after
resolving the illegal migration issue. UK Ambassador in Bucharest
Quinton Quayle said that visas would be lifted before Romania joins
the EU.

(Rompres news agency, Bucharest, in English 1203 gmt 21 Apr 05)


EU criticism

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected allegations that Turkey
started slacking after the 17 December EU summit, at which it got a
date for starting EU entry talks. He also said that Turkey had not
been supported by its European friends on the issue of

“There is no question of any slacking on our part. On the contrary, if
there is any slacking at the moment, it is on the other side. We
waited for a return letter from them over the additional protocol
[extending Turkey’s customs union with the EU to cover the new
members, including Cyprus]. We received a let ter about the additional
protocol, to which we sent our response, and now we are waiting for a
return letter,” he said.

The prime minister also criticized Europe for depicting certain
isolated incidents as shortcomings in implementation. “We are very
determined in this regard. If there is negative behaviour on this
subject – and this happens from time to time – we address the matter
immediately. Our Interior Ministry and our Justice Ministry have
always taken this stand and will continue to do so in the future as
well,” he said.

(NTV television, Istanbul, in Turkish 0500 gmt 27 Apr 05)

Luxembourg meeting

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said during Turkey-EU Association
Council meeting in Luxembourg that the Turkish government was
determined to implement reforms comprehensively and
effectively. Diplomatic sources said Gul told EU officials that Turkey
was aware of its deficiency in the reform process and that the
government would remedy these deficiencies.

Gul noted that the government was still assessed the question of
re-opening the Heybeliada Greek Orthodox Seminary, adding that fight
against torture and maltreatment had priority in the agenda of the

Referring to the efforts of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots to resolve the
Cyprus issue, Gul said that Turkey was not the party which should be
encouraged to take further steps for resolution.

Touching on Turkish-Greek relations during the meeting, Gul said
Turkey was determined to resolve differences of opinion on the Aegean
issue on the basis of mutual interests.

(Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 1828 gmt 26 Apr 05)

Cyprus/customs protocol

The European Union called on Turkey to sign the additional protocol of
the Ankara Agreement to extend the agreement to new members of EU as
soon as possible. A statement titled “Position of the European Union”
was published after the 44th meeting of EU-Turkey Association Council
held in Luxembourg. It was stressed in the statement that “the
signature of the protocol, its ratification and its subsequent
implementation would constitute important steps forward towards
normalization of the relations between Turkey and all EU member
states”, including the Greek Cypriot side. The EU stressed that it
welcomed the exchange of letters with Turkey which confirmed its
approval of signing the additional protocol.

(Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 1356 gmt 26 Apr 05)

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Turkish side’s
determination in its EU bid should be understood well by European
countries and they should avoid statements which could endanger this
process and hurt the Turkish nation. “Pointing out to some individual
incidents as a lack of implementation is not a fair attitude. What it
does matter is to use legal means to cope with such negative
incidents. All the investigations are being launched in Turkey in such
cases, and nobody can deny that,” Erdogan said.

“We are sorry to see that some of our European friends accuse Turkey
by basing their accusations on the remarks of some circles who
constantly assume ideological approach to incidents, rather than
taking into consideration the official and serious institutions of the
country. I hope our European friends can understand well Turkey’s
determination in its EU bid and avoid from making statements which can
endanger this process,” he added.

(Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 1154 gmt 26 Apr 05)

Kurdish issue

According to diplomatic sources, EU ambassadors warned the mayor of
Diyarbakir, Osman Baydemir, to avoid the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and
its jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan. The ambassadors urged Baydemir to
help bring about permanent peace. “The ambassadors reminded Baydemir
that future tension in the region will receive a huge reaction from
the EU,” a Turkish diplomat said.

(Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 1134 gmt 22 Apr 05)

Armenian genocide issue

NGOs from eastern Anatolia sent letters about the Armenian genocide
issue to 25 embassies in Ankara, including those of several EU
countries. “It is really sad that the modern world considers the
Ottoman government’s decision to relocate a portion of its Armenian
population as a genocide. The modern world must be aware that those
governments supporting the thesis of a genocide will not be forgiven
by history,” the Erzurum Economic and Social Research and Assistance
Foundation member of the executive board, Vahdet Nafiz Aksu said.

(Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 0932 gmt 24 Apr 05)

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted to the Polish ambassador’s
statements in which he recognized what had happened to the Armenians
as genocide, saying that he was upset by the remarks and that Poland
should not have done what it did to Turkey.

(NTV television, Istanbul, in Turkish 0600 gmt 24 Apr 05)

Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan said that the genocide
allegations were not a vital issue in terms of diplomatic and economic
relations with Turkey, adding that the two issues should be addressed
separately. Markaryan also said that he did not want third countries
to interfere in relations between the two countries. The Armenian
prime minister remarked that third countries were also responsible for
the incidents experienced during World War I. Referring to a letter
from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Markaryan said that it was
not logical for historians from the two sides to discuss this matter.

(NTV television, Istanbul, in Turkish 1300 gmt 21 Apr 05)

Turkish parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc sent a letter to his Polish
counterpart, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, condemning a Polish parliament
resolution recognizing what had happened to the Armenians as genocide
and a planned visit by Polish MPs to the Turkish parliament was
cancelled. “Despite these bona fide initiatives of our country, the
resolution adopted by the Polish parliament has been a very
unfortunate development regarding our bilateral relations. It is not
possible to link this resolution to the long friendly relations
between our nations,” Arinc said. The Turkish parliament also decided
not to send a representative to the “parliamentary marathon and
semi-marathon championships” held in Poland.

(Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 1317 gmt 27 Apr 05)

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked Armenia to open its archives
as Turkey did when commenting on Armenian President Robert Kocharyan’s
letter. Erdogan said that political scientists and historians should
work on this problem, and stressed that Turkey would examine its
history if necessary. “We are taking the political steps. There were
no flights from (Armenian capital of) Yerevan to (Turkish commercial
hub of) Istanbul when I became the prime minister (of Turkey). We
opened an air corridor. And I do not have any problems with our
Armenian citizens. Our Culture and Tourism Ministry is also exerting
necessary efforts regarding cultural heritage, and so we expect the
similar steps from our interlocutors,” Erdogan said.

(Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 1310 gmt 27 Apr 05)

The Council of Europe extended strong support to Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan’s proposal to form a joint commission of Turkish and
Armenian historians to examine the Armenian genocide allegations. “We
call on Turkey and Armenia to carry out a joint search on the
incidents which occurred in the Ottoman Empire during the World War I,
using their historical documents in their national archives. Turkish
and Armenian people are interpreting this historical period
differently, and this different interpretation obstructed improvement
of bilateral relations,” said the statement.

(Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 1219 gmt 27 Apr 05)

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress