Press Releases, 10/12/2011
Finland supports continuation of the EU’s enlargement
Press release 266/2011
12 October 2011
The EU Commission today, 12 October, published its annual review of the Enlargement Strategy of the European Union. Finland continues its strong support for EU enlargement. The process remains significant for expanding the area of stability and prosperity in Europe.
The principles of a sustainable enlargement strategy are conditionality and credibility. Accession negotiations with the candidate countries bring harmonisation of their legislation and administrative procedures so that they correspond to European Union requirements. In the view of Finland, all of the candidate countries should be able to proceed in their rapprochement with the EU in accordance with their own achievements. Finland considers issues linked with the rule of law to be important in the EU enlargement process.
Iceland’s accession negotiations have got off to a good start. Finland supports Iceland’s EU membership goals. Iceland’s membership of the EU would strengthen the Nordic voice in the Union.
Croatia will become the 28th Member State of the European Union in July 2013. This is a positive signal to all of the Western Balkans. In the mid-1990s, the EU set the goal of gradual rapprochement between the Western Balkan region and the Union. Croatia’s example shows that accession is a real possibility. Particularly in the Western Balkans, enlargement of the European Union is still a peace process as well. The Commission recommends the opening of accession negotiations with Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Commission also recommends that Serbia should be granted the status of candidate country.
In Turkey, the EU accession process is clearly a force driving reforms. As a member of the EU, Turkey would strengthen the Union as an economic and foreign policy actor. The opening of new negotiation chapters should be continued in accordance with the order of the normal negotiation process. A new dynamism is needed in relations between the EU and Turkey.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja will make a visit to Croatia and Serbia on 19–20 October.
Additional information: Counsellor Esko Männistö, Unit for EU Enlargement and Western Balkans, tel. +358 40 801 2917