Voortgangsrapporten Turkije, Kroatië en Macedonië gepubliceerd
Nieuwsbericht | 07-11-2006
Brussels, 8 November 2006
Key findings of the progress reports on the candidate
countries: Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey
Croatia EU accession negotiations began with Croatia on 3
October 2005 and are continuing.
Croatia continues to meet the Copenhagen political criteria and the
political situation has continued to improve. Implementation of
strategies for reforming the judiciary and fighting corruption has
begun. Croatia has moved forward on minorities and refugee return,
albeit at a slow pace. Full cooperation with ICTY has continued. The
conduct of war crimes trials in Croatia has improved. Croatia
continues to play a positive role in regional cooperation.
However, reform is at an early stage and there is considerable
scope for improvement in the judiciary, public administration and in
the fight against corruption. Further progress is essential in the
protection of minorities, on refugee return, and in the conduct of
war crimes trials, including witness protection. Further regional
cooperation is vital, as are efforts to solve outstanding bilateral
problems with neighbours, especially on border demarcation.
As regards economic criteria, Croatia can be regarded as a
functioning market economy. The country should be able to cope with
competitive pressures and market forces within the Union in the
medium term, provided that it vigorously implements its reform
programme to remove the significant remaining weaknesses. inflation
is low, the exchange rate stable, fiscal consolidation has continued
and growth has accelerated slightly. Private investment has risen,
the banking sector has continued to grow and unemployment has
declined. Road infrastructure has improved and competition increased
in the telecommunication sector.
However, significant and rising imbalances in the trade and current
accounts and a high external debt constitute potential risks to
macroeconomic stability. The pace of structural reforms has
generally been slow. Subsidies to loss making enterprises continued,
while state intervention in the economy remained significant.
Reforms need to be implemented vigorously.
EU legal order
Croatia has improved its ability to take on the obligations of
membership. In most areas there has been some progress, mainly in
terms of legislative alignment. Implementing capacity has also been improved.
However, in many cases enforcement is weak and administrative
capacity remains uneven. Progress has varied considerably between
different policy areas. As regards the overall level of alignment
and administrative capacity, much remains to be done. Considerable
and sustained efforts will be needed in a number of chapters such as
free movement of capital, competition policy, public procurement,
agriculture, justice freedom and security, judiciary and fundamental
rights and environment.
The EU will continue to provide significant pre-accession financial
assistance to support Croatia. A total of €140 million has been
allocated to Croatia in 2006.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia obtained the status of
candidate country in December 2005.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is well on the way to
satisfy the political criteria. It has pursued political reforms in
2006, although at a slower pace. To some extent, this is due to
formation of a new government. Steps were taken to allow for sound
parliamentary elections. Still, irregularities occurred and major
efforts will be needed to ensure that standards are fully met at the
next elections. An important reform of the judicial system has been
initiated, and needs to be fulfilled. The decentralisation process
has moved forward. The country has continued to play a positive
political role in the r egion.
However, the country should step up its efforts in a number of
areas. Additional efforts will be needed to build consensus in order
to achieve further progress and pursue the implementation of the
Ohrid Framework Agreement. A constructive dialogue among all
political parties is needed to ensure the proper functioning of the
institutions. It will allow for the smooth implementation of reforms
such as in the police, the judiciary, and the decentralisation.
Concrete results in the fight against corruption remain to be
achieved, which will require strong political will and the full
implementation of the legal framework. Large scale changes occurred
in the administration. The independence and professionalism of the
state administration, as well as administrative capacity, need to be strengthened.
The country is well advanced in establishing a functioning market
economy. The country has maintained a broad consensus on the
essentials of economic policies. Macroeconomic stability and
predictability have further increased. Inflation has remained under
control. Barriers to market entry and exit have been reduced by
simplifying and accelerating registration and bankruptcy procedures.
However, institutional weaknesses remain, such as cumbersome
administrative procedures, corruption, as well as a low degree of
legal certainty, affecting the business climate and a proper
functioning of the market economy.
Labour and financial markets are functioning badly, and the
informal sector distorts the economy. Continued stabilisation and
reform efforts are needed to enable the country to cope with
competitive pressure and market forces within the Union in the medium-term.
The country has made some progress. New legislation and the
establishment of new institutions constitute progress. Progress has
been made, notably on some areas concerning the internal market.
However, the country still faces major challenges in implementing
and effectively enforcing the legislation. It needs to intensify its
efforts in areas such as agriculture, food safety, competition,
environment, justice, freedom and security. Customs fees, which were
in breach of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, have been
abolished. The telecommunications market has not yet been
liberalised and intellectual property rights are not yet adequately
protected to allow the country to fully meet its SAA obligations.
The EU will continue to provide significant financial assistance to
support the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In 2006, € 43.6
million pre-accession assistance is available for this country.
EU accession negotiations began with Turkey on 3 October 2005 and
Although Turkey continues to sufficiently fulfil the Copenhagen
political criteria and has pursued political reform, the pace has
slowed during the past year and significant further efforts are
needed. Some elements of the 9th reform package, which were part of
the short term priorities under the Accession partnership, like the
law creating an ombudsman or the law on settlements (which addresses
the situation of the Roma people), were adopted, and preparation on
the ground, like training of judges and prosecutors, is ongoing.
However, most of the short-term priorities of the Accession
Partnership remain to be met. Additional efforts need to be made to
assert civilian control over the military. As regards fundamental
rights, elements of the revised Penal Code need to be amended to
adequately protect freedom of expression. Efforts should also be
made in the areas of freedom of religion and economic and social
rights, in particular women's and trade union rights. There is a
need for Turkey to addr ess the serious economic and social problems
of the South East and ensure full enjoyment of rights and freedoms
by the Kurdish population. Turkey also maintained its restrictions
on direct transport links with Cyprus.
Turkey continues to be regarded as a functioning market economy, as
long as it firmly maintains its recent stabilisation and reform
achievements. Turkey should also be able to cope with competitive
pressure and market forces within the Union in the medium term,
provided that it firmly maintains its stabilisation policy and takes
further decisive steps towards structural reforms. Progress has been
made in the adoption of new legislation and the establishment of new institutions.
However, administrative capacity needs further strengthening, and
in many cases there is a need for more commitment and resources.
Turkey has improved its ability to take on the obligations of
membership. In most areas some progress was made. However,
fulfilment of short-term priorities under the Accession Partnership
is lagging behind in many areas.
When assessing the overall alignment of Turkish legislation to the
EU legal order clearly much remains to be done. Some areas related
to internal market are fairly advanced, partly due to commitments
under the Customs Union, such as the free movement of goods,
customs, and trade. Alignment is also fairly advanced in areas like
intellectual property law, antitrust, transport, enterprise and
social policy. In other areas, alignment remained limited,
particularly as regards services, capital movement, company law,
agriculture, and environment. In most areas, much further
improvement in the institutional and administrative capacity is
needed to also implement the EU’s laws and standards.
The EU will continue providing significant financial assistance to
support Turkey. In 2006, €500 million pre-accession assistance is
available for Turkey.