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France wants all Balkan countries in EU, except Turkey July 25, 2010

Posted by Yilan in France, Turkey.
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French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, in an exclusive interview with the Croatian daily Jutarnji list, which belongs to WAZ Media Group, has said his country supports all Western Balkan countries in their bid to join the EU, but this process is to remain based on the individual merits of each country in fulfilling the necessary “benchmarks” set by the EU.

Fillon: ‘It is not presumed that Turkey will become a full member’ (Photo: European Commission)

Mr Fillon, who visited Croatia last weekend, said it is at the final stage of its accession process and has arrived at the “finishing line.”

Expressing his belief that Croatia will be able to meet the remaining requirements, including full co-operation with the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, Mr Fillon also said that the Croatian example sent a message to the other Western Balkans countries: “Croatia’s success is a clear message to other countries in the region that want to join the EU: accession is indeed a long and difficult process, but determination and a will to pursue reforms makes this goal achievable.”

“My message to the region is twofold. On one hand, all countries of Former Yugoslavia plus Albania are destined to join the European Union one day. This principle was endorsed by the Zagreb summit in 2000 [on an initiative by President Jacques Chirac] and was reconfirmed recently at a ministerial conference between the EU and the Western Balkans in Sarajevo on June 2,” he added.

“We want this region, that has had a difficult history, to join the zone of peace and stability that the EU is for all its member states. But on the other side, all should be aware that accession to EU is not a formality: it requires from the candidate country important efforts in adopting the acquis communautaire. This dynamism rests on the will of interested countries to conduct profound reforms in several fields and to follow a policy of dialogue and co-operation at a regional level.”

Mr Fillon confirmed that his country takes a different view on Turkey’s integration into the EU, however.

“It is known what is the French position: it is not presumed that Turkey will become a full member of the European Union. We accept ties as close as possible – but without accession at the end of process,” he said.

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