Thursday, July 31, 2014


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EU's Fuele On Keeping 'The Momentum Of Enlargement' Alive In 2013

EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele after a meeting with senior political leaders in Sarajevo in November
EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele after a meeting with senior political leaders in Sarajevo in November
New trade deals and a path to closer association with the European Union for Eastern Partnership members are among the top items on EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele's 2013 wish list. In an interview with RFE/RL Brussels correspondent Rikard Jozwiak, Fuele also predicts that several countries in the Western Balkans will move closer to EU membership.

RFE/RL: There is an Eastern Partnership Summit coming up in Vilnius in the autumn of 2013. What has to happen there for you to consider the summit a success?

Stefan Fuele: I think it would be a number of concrete deliverables concerning the association agreement negotiations, including the economic integration part -- this famous Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). I think it would be also important [to] have, at least with some of our partners, some concrete deliverables on the mobility issues; I am talking about visa free [travel], which is so important for the citizens of that region. But I think that there is one more issue which I hope will be the highlight of that summit, and that is the link between reforms being delivered by our partners and us not only appreciating, welcoming those efforts, but at the same time being ambitious and courageous enough in defining, and...a European road for those partners who would like to be closer and closer to the European union.

RFE/RL: So, in a sense what you want to see some sort of path for the Eastern partners for them to join the EU, regardless of how long or short this path is?

Fuele: I am...referring [to] the road to get closer and closer to the European Union. But yes, indeed what I am is saying is that I hope very much that while [at] the last summit [of the] Eastern Partnership Summit [in Warsaw in 2011] we [were] able to accept the language of a European perspective as the language being promoted by our partners, I hope very much that the European Union, the member states, will be more and more ready to accept that language as their own -- as the language defining their policy towards the most ambitious partners. 

RFE/RL: 2012 was a very difficult year for the EU's relations with Ukraine. How do you see this relationship developing next year, especially with the EU-Ukraine summit coming up at the beginning of 2013?

Fuele: We are going to have a summit with Ukraine...hopefully in the first month of 2013. I hope very much that it will set up an ambitious agenda for Ukraine and [for] us. For 2013 to be, again, a good year -- a good year for engagement and a good year [that] would hopefully end up at the [Eastern Partnership] summit [with] the signature of the association agreement -- this road would require engagement on our side and it would require...Ukraine to deliver on some issues. I am looking forward [to] the member states in the next couple of days to define more clearly what we are talking about.

But overall I am positive here. I am positive about our continuing engagement and our continuing focus on the values and principles underpinning our relationship.

RFE/RL: Will something change in your approach to Belarus next year? You have imposed sanctions against people close to the regime. You are engaging with civil society. And you are trying to lower visa costs for ordinary citizens wanting to visit the EU. But all this doesn't seem to impact the Lukashenka regime.  Is it not time for the EU to recalibrate its policy toward Belarus in 2013?

Fuele: No, it is not up to us to recalibrate [our] policy, it is up to Belarus and its authorities to recalibrate their policies. I don't think it adds to the credibility of the European Union if it is changing its policies. I think we all know where the problem is. We all know that with the authorities keeping a number of political prisoners [incarcerated] under questionable conditions is far from being conducive to a constructive dialogue with the European Union.

RFE/RL:  Do you expect any positive developments in the South Caucasus next year?

Fuele: I think [there are] going to be some positive results [in] our negotiations of association agreements and [with] economic integration...through the DCFTA. No doubt about it. [There] is also going to be some real progress...[on] the mobility issue -- visa facilitation, in particular. I hope also that we will be able -- through our programs and engagement [with] the countries [of the South Caucasus] in various Eastern partnership activities -- to strengthen regional cooperation. Because the Eastern Partnership is not only about bilateral relationships between our partners and the European Union, but it is also about the multilateral dimension of that partnership; and in that region, there are a lot of things the three countries could to together.

RFE/RL: Croatia will join the EU in 2013 and Montenegro will continue its EU accession negotiations. Will there be any more success stories for EU enlargement in the Western Balkans? Will Serbia start negotiations? Will Albania become an EU candidate country? And will we finally see some movement on the name issue concerning Macedonia?

Fuele: Do I see a realistic possibility of [these things] happening? Absolutely. There are two challenges. The first one [is] to keep the momentum of enlargement. And the second one is for the governments and all important stakeholders in those countries continuing -- and indeed strengthening -- their reforms. Because the more reforms, the bigger the support from the member states on that path of enlargement.
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nate Clews from: Sydney, Australia
January 01, 2013 17:40
New trade deals must be made with African nations. The European Union for Eastern Partnership members need to expand relationships with Gambia, one of the most relied upon trading partners for U.S. in Africa. The Gambia and President Yahya Jammeh promotes religious, ethnic, and gender tolerance and equality. I would hope that these symbols of freedom and good would inspire Europe to support Gambians.

by: Frank from: Prague
January 01, 2013 17:50
The EU is dead. Ergo EU enlargement is dead. Dream on Fuehle.
In Response

by: Mike from: London
January 02, 2013 22:14
Frank is bizarrely misinformed. The EU is very far from dead; and enlargement is continuing.
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
January 03, 2013 08:47
It's because Frank is a Great Slavic nationalist, and being a Serb & Russian war crimes denier, he is upset that the EU gives each of his wet dream countries a "not with a barge pole" response.

Frank, remember if the EU "dies" then Russia's economy goes with it, as does that of Serbia.

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
January 03, 2013 14:45
And what about Cold Turkey,Azeri Ilhamistan and all turkic countries with their tremendous economic resources,oil reserves and decades of centuries old traditions of real chenghiz khan demockracy??? They are the only hope of EU revival,we should accept them without stupid preconditions and human rights criticism.Nice to see good old Dandrew back,hello,Dan,where you been leaving us all poorer without your WASP wisdom???
In Response

by: Jack from: US
January 03, 2013 20:10
Camel, you don't have a clue about Chenghiz Khan, you creep. Comparing Chenghiz Khan to Muslim sewers of Middle East is like comparing Copenhagen to Mogadishu. My mother is Chechen and my father was Russian soldier during 1990-ies. I'm proud to have Chenghiz Khan's blood in my veins from both sides. And it feels damn goo-oo-ood!!!
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
January 04, 2013 12:02
Dorogoi Jackie,how many chechens did your father kill before marrying your mother???Is your mother muslim or did you came out of an immaculate conception???Of course we dont have a clue about anything-thats why we read your and Eugenia`s posts to learn something more than american mainstream mafia outlets let us know.As a russian-chechen tatar you have every right to be proud spewing vomit against the country which adopted you-millions of russians would be happy to be adopted by the bloody imperialists you rant and rave against.But I guess all that is just a part of your russian-chechen pride,which is in fact badly veiled soviet kgb mutation.Keep up the good work,tovarish and try to exorcize your evil spirits of hubris-thats the greek word for the sin of pride!!!Pakhmelin dayesh???
In Response

by: Jack from: US
January 04, 2013 15:25
yes, camel, my father killed hundreds of Muslims in Chechnya and elsewhere, many of those were CIA operatives, trained by US government and financed by Saudi Arabia to commit terrorist acts. My father saw detonators which CIA provided to would-be suicide bombers. Chechen people suffered at the hands of US-supported Muslim Sunni terrorists, just like Syrian people suffer now. US and its minions Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan are the major sponsors of terrorism

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 09, 2013 21:33
The article says: "Keeping 'The Momentum Of Enlargement' Alive" :-)))). I mean, these RFE/RL publications are getting ever more satyrical :-)). One would really have to have some suicidal tendencies in order to want to become a part of the EU in the current circumstances: in the EU member-state Spain, for example, some 400.000 people have being thrown by the police out of their appts to live on the street over the last 4 years, because they could not pay their debts. Some of the people concerned by these "measures" even committed suicide by throwing themselves out of the window of "their" appts.
A number of EU member states are experiencing strong secessionist movts that might end up leading to armed conflicts (e.g. the secessionists in the Spanish region of Catalunya or in the Belgian province of Flanders).
The final figures for the year 2012 have not been published yet, but beyond any reasonable doubt the economy of the Euro-zone has contracted in 2012 (after have contracted in 2009 already and having pretty much stagnated in 2011).
Unemployment level in several EU member states (specifically, Spain and Greece) has reached the level of 26 (!!!) % and continues getting higher.
The list of the EU's "achievements" can be continued for a long time - and it's a pity actually that the RFE/RL almost never informs us of those "achievements" preferring to repeat the absurd fairy-tales of Herrn Fuele and the like.

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