Balkans: 2013 EU year of enlargement, Irish presidency says

More Balkans in EU, we want to see progress for all, Gilmore

22 January, 21:07

(ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, JANUARY 22 - ''2013 will be a great year for enlargement towards the Balkans,'' Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore told the EP foreign affairs committee on behalf of the serving Irish EU presidency.

''We want to see concrete progress for all candidate countries, including potential ones,'' said Gilmore. ''In the first half of 2013, we will have the opportunity to open negotiations with Serbia and Macedonia, give Albania candidate status, and sign an association agreement with Kosovo.'' Croatia, which is scheduled to join the EU in July, must keep up its momentum towards integration, Gilmore said.

''We know that this is an ambitious agenda, but the Irish presidency will work for the progress of all Western Balkan countries,'' the minister said. ''Ireland also supports a Bosnian candidacy, and we hope the Bosnian government will show signs of progress towards the EU.'' (ANSAmed).


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