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Vol 2, No 32
25 September 2000
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EU News News from Brussels
All the important news
since 16 September 2000

Ivana Gogova

EU carrot for Yugoslav voters

In light of the upcoming elections in Yugoslavia on Sunday, 24 September 2000, EU foreign ministers promised "radical change" if Slobodan Milošević loses.

There is currently concern within the EU and the Western community as a whole that the elections in Yugoslavia will secure Milošević's mandate for another four years. Despite the fact that his opponent, Vojislav Kostunica, has a considerable advantage in the opinion polls, fears persist that voting conditions will not be fair. In addition, Montenegro’s pro-Western President Milo Đukanović claims that constitutional changes introduced last year give Milošević a clear advantage.

Consequently, the EU has made every effort to show voters the comparative advantages of voting Milošević out. On Monday, 18 September, EU foreign ministers sent a "message to the Serbian people." There they said: "We reaffirm that a choice leading to democratic change will entail radical change in the EU’s policy with regard to Serbia.

We will lift the sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; we will support the necessary economic and political reforms by providing Serbia with aid for its reconstruction and support reintegration into the international community." The sanctions EU imposed on Yugoslavia last year included an oil embargo, financial sanctions and travel restrictions against Belgrade.

At the same time, the EU made a separate announcement to boost trade with Albania and all the other former Yugoslav republics except Serbia. As well as introducing duty free trade with the region, EU markets will also be opened for 95 percent of industrial and agricultural produce from Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia. This announcement was clearly linked with the message to Yugoslavia and further emphasised the possible advantages to a Yugoslavia free of Milošević .

Meanwhile, a trial against Western leaders accused of war crimes relating to the bombardment of Yugoslavia last year opened in Belgrade on Monday, 18 September. Although none of the accused were present there were lawyers appointed to represent, among others, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Gerhard Schröder.

As a result of Western concerns regarding the election, American and British aircraft carriers will be stationed in the Adriatic during that period. Britain has also sent an extra 600 soldiers to Kosovo.


Turkey takes steps to meet EU criteria

The Turkish foreign minister, Ismail Cem, met with the European Parliament and Commission members at the beginning of last week in Brussels. The focus of the meeting was the agreement on a timetable for political reform and adoption of EU legislation. As a result, a human rights report was adopted by the Turkish government later during the week. The report was issued by the Human Rights Coordination High Board.

On Tuesday, 19 September Clem met with the commissioner on enlargement, Günter Verheugen, in Brussels. Their main topic for discussion was the accession partnership document which the EU is to publish on 8 November. This document will set Turkey’s medium and short-term priorities for its national action programme. The government will still adhere to the original goal of 2004 for the start of accession talks.

Two days later, Turkey accepted a human right report that aims to prepare the country for accession on the political front. The report pertains to reforming human rights protcetion, establishing the rule of law and fostering democracy. The government's dedication to the upcoming reforms was reiterated by Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit.

Although a comprehensive legal change is needed in order to meet EU criteria, particular emphasis was placed on laws pertaining to labor rights, meeting and demonstration rights, the law on political parties and the law on the establishment of an ombudsman and freedom of thought and expression. Overall, amendments to the Penal and Civil Laws will be of greatest importance.

A human rights department affiliated to the prime ministry, was also established. However, some of the issues that should undergo reforms, such as the penal code regarding Kurdish separatists and religious fundamentalist for example, are viewed as politically sensitive. Hence a broader social consensus will be necessary in order to make any progress in this direction. In this respect, the recently appointed Turkish secretary-general for relations with the EU, Volkan Vural, expressed his intentions to raise public awareness of "what is required and what can be gained from full membership of the EU."


Dam projects might be delaying Poland's EU entry

On Tuesday, 19 September, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) held a press conference at Brussels. There it accused Poland of being in breach of EU environmental law because of controversial projects for the building of two dams.

The WWF said that Poland will be disregarding its commitments to the EU environmental law if it proceeds with building the two dams. As a candidate, the country is believed to apply such laws to its infrastructure plans even before accession. Thus, the current situation can considerably delay Polish entry into the EU.

At the same time the EU's Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallström, has also expressed concern over Poland's project. She has already asked the government for information on the environmental impact of the plan. Poland has in turn stressed that this project is needed to prevent erosion undermining an existing dam. However, no further action will be taken before the Commission studies the government's reply.


Deutsche Bank: first candidates to join in 2005

Deutsche Bank Research published the first study in a new series of EU Enlargement Monitors. The study outlines three possible scenarios for accession and rates them according to their probability.

The scenario with the greatest probability of 60 percent is the so-called 'big convoy' enlargement. A group of up to eight candidate states is seen as joining the EU in 2005. This first wave of countries includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. Romania and Bulgaria are not seen as joining before 2008.

The second, 'small convoys' scenario allows for individual countries to join gradually. Thus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Slovenia could join in 2005, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia in 2006, and Bulgaria and Romania after 2008. This scenario is credited with only 20 percent probability.

The third, 'regatta' scenario envisions candidate countries joining in even smaller groups. Hungary and Slovenia are here seen as the first ones to join in 2003, followed by the Czech Republic and Estonia in 2004, Poland and Slovakia in 2005, Latvia and Lithuania in 2006, and lastly Bulgaria and Romania after 2008. The probability of this scenario is also 20 percent.

Overall, the research considerably undermines hopes of candidate countries to be regarded for accession on an individual basis. It becomes apparent that enlargement in larger and less frequent waves is the most probable if not even preferable way to achieve the accession of Eastern Europe. Among others, economic as well as bureaucratic considerations are in this respect instrumental in envisioning the most likely accession plan.

Ivana Gogova, 23 September 2000

Moving on:


European Parliament Daily Notebook
Financial Times


Seán Hanley

Andrew Kotas
Steel Structures

Jan Čulík
Czech Depression

Andrew Stroehlein
Online Journalism

Mark Preskett
Moldova's Bad Luck

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Fuelling Hungary

Mel Huang
Grave Diving

Sarah Whitmore
Ukraine's Constitution

Wojtek Kość
Jerzy Giedroyc (1906-2000)

Benjamin Halligan
Miloš Forman

Sam Vaknin
Dreamworld and Catastrophe

Press Reviews:
Oliver Craske
UK: Velvet Demonstrations?

Andrew Mrozek
Left Hanging

Culture Calendar:


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