BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission (EC) published on Wednesday (October 14th) its annual progress report on the Western Balkans and Turkey. The EC says Croatia could wrap up its membership talks in 2010, but the other Balkan countries have more work to do. The report provides no entry date for Zagreb.
In the document, Brussels criticises the EU-hopefuls over widespread corruption and shortcomings in the judiciary. The commission urges Turkey to step up political and economic reforms, to improve the rights of minorities, women and trade unions, as well as to normalise relations with Cyprus. The report notes that Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo are making uneven progress, and Serbia has a strong administrative capacity to implement the necessary reforms.
The EC recommended that the 27-nation bloc start accession talks with Macedonia as the country has made "convincing progress", EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said in Brussels while presenting the report. In a separate document, the EC proposed that the EU step up its ties with Kosovo by offering visa-free travel to its citizens when the conditions are met. (Reuters, AP, AFP - 14/10/09)