Extracts from the press conference by Olli Rehn on the Enlargement package

Type: Summary of press conference   Reference: I-059416   Duration: 10:40:54  Lieu:
End production: 05/11/2008   First transmission: 05/11/2008
Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement, gave a press conference after adoption by the Commission of its annual strategy paper for the EU’s enlargement policy. It highlights the role of the EU’s enlargement policy which plays in the Union’s strategic interest in stability, security and conflict prevention. The Commission also reviewed the progress achieved in the Western Balkans and Turkey over the last year and spelled out the challenges ahead. The Western Balkan countries' advance towards EU membership can be accelerated, provided they meet the necessary conditions. It should be possible to reach the final stage of accession negotiations with Croatia by the end of 2009, provided that Croatia fulfils all the necessary conditions. The pace of negotiations with Turkey will continue to match the pace of reform in the country. Enlargement serves the EU's strategic interest in stability, security, and conflict prevention. It has helped to increase prosperity and growth opportunities, to improve links with vital transport and energy routes, and to increase the EU's weight in the world. In the light of recent challenges to stability to the East of the EU, the consistent implementation of the enlargement policy becomes more important than ever. The present enlargement agenda covers the Western Balkans and Turkey.

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10:34:17 Title 00:00:04
10:34:22 Exterior view of the Berlaymont building. 00:00:07
10:34:29 Arrival of Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement, to the press room (2 shots). 00:00:11
10:34:40 Olli Rehn saying (in FRENCH) that the recent events, in particular the crisis in the Caucasus, has clearly shown the strategic importance of enlargement. It has also underlined the important role of Turkey for their stability, their energetic needs, as well as its influence in the region. By consequence, while they work on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, they can not do a break on their work for the stability and the progress in the Southeast of Europe. 00:00:41
10:35:21 Cutaway 00:00:06
10:35:27 Olli Rehn saying (in ENGLISH) that based on the progress made so far by Croatia, it should be possible to reach the final state of the accession negotiations by the end of 2009. Provided that the country fulfills all the necessary conditions. They presented a conditional roadmap and indicative timetable both together, which is aimed at giving further rigour and spine for the preparations in Croatia. This is an encouragement, but not a blank check. 00:00:45
10:36:12 Cutaway 00:00:06
10:36:18 Olli Rehn saying (in ENGLISH) that concerning the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the country has made good progress on judicial and police reform and continued to consolidate multi-ethnic democracy by implementing the Ohrid Agreement. However, these good results are overshadowed by shortcomings in the political criteria, which is fundamental to start accession negotiations with the EU. 00:00:29
10:36:47 Cutaway 00:00:07
10:36:54 Olli Rehn saying (in ENGLISH) that Albania is implementing smoothly its SAA (Stabilisation and Association Agreement) that was signed with the EU in late 2006, two years ago. Based on cross-party consensus on the EU, key political reforms are progressing, including the electoral reform. One of Albania's key challenges ahead will be the handling of the elections in 2009. It will also need to strengthen the rule of law and build administrative capacity. 00:00:40
10:37:34 Cutaway 00:00:05
10:37:39 Olli Rehn saying (in ENGLISH) that Montenegro's SAA has been in force for a year now. Its implementation is likewise proceeding smoothly. Political consensus on Europe and cross-party support in the Parliament have led to the adoption of a new Constitution in 2007, as well as solid progress on European reform agenda. Strengthening the rule of law and administrative capacity remain a challenge for Montenegro. 00:00:37
10:38:16 Cutaway 00:00:06
10:38:22 Olli Rehn saying (in ENGLISH) that the challenge for Bosnia's leaders today is to achieve the degree of political consensus that has delivered progress on EU integration elsewhere in the region. EU-related reforms should now move to the top of the agenda, and energy should focuses on these issues. 00:00:20
10:38:42 Cutaway 00:00:06
10:38:48 Olli Rehn saying (in ENGLISH) that Serbia needs to do everything in its powers to arrest the remaining ICTY indictees, including Ratko Mladic. Provided Serbia can carry out the necessary reforms and fulfill the conditions, under the best possible scenario, it might still be able to obtain candidate status in 2009. Serbia has a major role to play in the region. The EU expects in particular Serbia to take a constructive approach to the deployment of EULEX mission in Kosovo. 00:00:42
10:39:30 Cutaway 00:00:06
10:39:36 Olli Rehn saying (in ENGLISH) that Kosovo will remain a focal point in 2009. Kosovo needs to ensure its commitment to a democratic and multi-ethnic society. The EU is committed to help secure peace and stability in Kosovo and support its economic development, as well as its progress towards the EU as part of the Western Balkans. They will present a feasibility study in autumn 2009 next year in that regard. 00:00:34
10:40:10 Cutaway 00:00:05
10:40:15 Olli Rehn saying (in ENGLISH) that he calls on Turkey today to re-energise its reform efforts to advance fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. The country has every chance to make 2009 an important year in its EU accession process, by accelerating the momentum of reforms. Last but not least, he also expects that Turkey will contribute to a favorable climate to achieve a comprehensive settlement on the reunification of Cyprus. 00:00:39
10:40:54 Cutaway 00:00:05
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