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You are here : Home > News > Speeches > March 2005 > Permanent Council No 547 of the OSCE: EU Statement in response to the head of the OSCE Mission in Croatia, Ambassador Peter Semneby
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Permanent Council No 547 of the OSCE: EU Statement in response to the head of the OSCE Mission in Croatia, Ambassador Peter Semneby

Date of Speech : 10-03-2005

Place : Vienna

Speaker : Jacques Reuter, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg at the OSCE

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

The EU warmly welcomes Ambassador Semneby on his last appearance at the Permanent Council. We highly value his dedicated work in leading the OSCE Mission in Zagreb including its field offices. We thank him for all the successful work he has carried out throughout the past 3 years.

The European Union is also pleased to see Assistant Foreign Minister Vidoševi�?. His presence here together with the Head of the OSCE Mission in Croatia is another proof of continuing fruitful cooperation between the Mission and the host Government.

We thank Ambassador Semneby for his comprehensive and thorough report giving us an exhaustive overview about the recent developments in Croatia and the current state of play concerning the fulfilment of the Mission’s mandate. We fully agree with him that clear progress has been reached by Croatia in many areas. We particularly welcome the consolidation of democracy over the past years as well as significant steps towards an increased role for ethnic minorities and visible progress in regional cooperation and reconciliation. We are also pleased by the fact that the European integration perspective has become a powerful unifying factor.

The EU would like to underline the importance of regional cooperation on refugee return and war crimes issues, takes positive note of the steps taken by Croatia, and encourages continued progress in this direction.

Ambassador Semneby has also mentioned areas in which additional progress is still required. In this regard, further progress in refugee return and implementation of judicial reform are also big challenges for the forthcoming period.  While welcoming the positive evolution of political and public attitude towards the refugees, we call on Croatia to redouble its efforts and speed up practical implementation of adopted measures, e.g. housing programmes, infrastructure and recognition of pension rights. Room for improvement remains also in the practical implementation of the Constitutional law that guarantees minority representation in state administration, court and police as well as of the new Law on Electronic Media.

We recall that full and unconditional cooperation by the countries of the Western Balkans with ICTY remains an essential requirement for their continuing movement towards the EU.  We urge Croatia to take the necessary steps for full cooperation with ICTY and reiterate that the last remaining indictee must be located and transferred to The Hague as soon as possible.  As decided by the European Council on 16 and 17 December 2004, the opening of accession negotiations on 17 March 2005 depends upon Croatia cooperating fully with ICTY.

As stated on previous occasions, the EU fully supports the Mission’s benchmarks policy. We look forward to an early additional refinement of the benchmarks policy criteria in the light of developments. 

The EU welcomes the positive developments in Croatia over the past three years to which you Ambassador and your dedicated team in Zagreb and in the field have made a significant and valuable contribution. Mr. Ambassador, on behalf of my colleagues from the EU, let me thank you again for your work and for the close cooperation we have enjoyed over the past 3 years and wish you all the best for the future.  

The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey align themselves with this statement.

This page was last modified on : 11-03-2005

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