Progress Report, expectations on Albania, Serbia, Kosovo and FYROM

Progress Report, expectations on Albania, Serbia, Kosovo and FYROM

October 6, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

Serbia has made progress in its EU accession path, while delays have been noticed on the part of Albania, FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and Kosovo. This is expected to be stressed by the European Commission in its annual reports that review the efforts of the EU membership candidate countries.

The Progress Reports are expected to come out after tomorrow (Wednesday October 8) and their details have been unveiled by different international media. “Serbia may emerge in best light from annual review of enlargement, while political problems will cast shadow on Albania and Macedonia”, reports “European Voice” in Brussels.

For Albania, the report says that the parliamentary boycott of the opposition is worrying.

Stopping on Kosovo, the report points out that four months after the June parliamentary elections, the country has not been able to form a government. Brussels identifies Skopje as the most damaged one from the delays in the integration process. For FYROM, the commission has recommended for six years in a row, the opening of accession talks.

Fule to present his last reports

“European Voice” reports that Stefan Fule will  present his last set of annual reports on the progress – or lack of it – made by eight countries seeking membership of the European Union. The outgoing European commissioner for enlargement and neighboring policy will also set out the Commission’s enlargement agenda for the first year under his designated successor, Austria’s Johannes Hahn.

Fule will be able to highlight some significant milestones that three countries have passed. Last year’s diplomatic breakthrough in relations between Serbia and Kosovo enabled Serbia to begin accession talks with the EU in January and Kosovo to take the first step towards membership, by starting negotiations on a stabilization and association agreement (SAA) last October. Kosovo has since completed the SAA talks. Meanwhile, the EU’s member states in June agreed that Albania should be recognized as a candidate for EU membership, a status that allows Albania to start accession talks.

However, the advances in Kosovo and Albania have been undermined by domestic political problems. Four months after parliamentary elections in June, Kosovo has been unable to form a government. In Albania, hopes that the political parties’ consensus on the EU’s reform agenda might translate into a long-term improvement in parliamentary politics have been dashed, as the opposition is currently boycotting parliament. Serbia may emerge with the most positive write-up, boosted in part by the decision to allow Belgrade’s first ‘Gay Pride’ march in four years on September 28, 2014.

Human-rights issues will loom large in the report on Turkey, but the country with most to lose is FYR Macedonia, which the Commission has for the past six years recommended should be allowed to start accession talks. Greece has always refused to allow that, because of its decades-long dispute over Macedonia’s name, which the country shares with a Greek province. The Commission’s recommendation this year is in question in part because of a political deadlock that has blocked FYR Macedonia’s reform agenda. The Commission, which often decides on a recommendation just days before the release of reports, may keep Skopje waiting until the last minute. /ibna/