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(E) If Croatia enters the EU by 2007 the others would take longer
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  06/21/2003 | Politics | Unrated
(E) If Croatia enters the EU by 2007 the others would take longer


If Croatia enters the EU by 2007 the others would obviously take longer


(AGI) - Porto Carras, Greece, June 21 - "An eastern Balkan enclave" is not conceivable for the EU, according to the results of the first summit between the EU and Albania, Bosnia-Erzegovina, Croazia, Macedonia and Serbia-Montenegro which took place in Porto Carras, near Salonicco, where an agenda for the joining of these countries to the EU was decided upon. "It is a kind of road map with no dates set, which contains all of Europe's requests" starting from an increase in the fight against organized crime and corruption, which are the true "obstacles" to the stability and development in the area, explained the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini.

A positive sign came from the announcement made by Javier Solana which stated that Serbia-Montenegro and the authorities from Kosovo will begin a direct dialogue "on matters of reciprocal interest" by the end of July, which is the possible premise for the final definition of the Serb province's status.

The EU has confirmed 20 million euro extra to be added to the 4.6 million it had already allocated for 2004-2006 to help the economic and judiciary reforms in the eastern Balkans. If Croatia, together with Bulgaria and Rumania, managed to enter the Union by 2007 the others would obviously take longer. Yet the Union has guaranteed in the final document that "the future of the Balkans lies in the hands of the EU and the procedure's speed depends on the countries in the region".

"Europe's unification process will not be complete until the Balkan countries will have become EU members", said Romano Prodi. The President of the European Commission and asked "all the leaders of the area to work well and to continue the reforms, making sure that the necessary funds are allocated". Europe has already allocated abundant funds: more than 7 billion euro from 1991 for only 5 countries. Presently in the Balkan area 5.8 billion euros worth are invested in the stability pact for south-eastern Europe, between the Commission and the individual countries.

The summit, to which the leaders and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 15 countries participated as well as the three candidates (Bulgaria, Rumania and Turkey) and the representatives of the eastern Balkans, will be repeated during Italy's turn to chair. Frattini announced that in the following summit there will also be a meeting among the Ministers of Internal Affairs so as to "make the stability and security policies more central".

The EU-Balkan summit took place on the last day of the Porto Carras meeting which was centered on the European Council which ended the Greek presidency and began the Italian one, officially to begin on July 1. The Premier, Silvio Berlusconi, and Frattini left for Rome in the late morning. (AGI)


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