Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ceisteanna (112)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

112. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position in regard to EU enlargement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46612/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

In regard to the accession status of Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo, I would refer the Deputy to the reply given to Parliamentary Question 45803/19.

In relation to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the European Commission’s Annual Enlargement Package and country reports, published in May this year, set out the opinion that Bosnia-Herzegovina does not yet fulfil the Copenhagen criteria, and is overall at an early stage regarding its level of preparedness to take on the obligations of EU membership. The report concluded that Bosnia-Herzegovina needs to significantly step up the process to align with the acquis. The Commission set out 14 recommendations in the areas of democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights, and public administration reform that need to be implemented before the opening of accession negotiations with Bosnia-Herzegovina can be considered. Ireland is committed to supporting the country on its reform path and towards alignment with the EU, and we will continue to support all of the six Western Balkans countries on their path towards Europe.

On Turkey, the Commission noted that there has been continued backsliding on the rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy, and that Turkey’s accession negotiations have effectively come to a standstill and no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing. The Turkish Government’s repeated commitment to the objective of EU accession has not been matched by corresponding measures and reforms, and the EU’s serious concerns on continued negative developments have not been addressed. However, it should be noted that Turkey remains a key partner for the EU, particularly in relation to migration. Ireland therefore does not support the notion that the EU should withdraw Turkey’s candidate status or formally suspend accession negotiations. Continued engagement with Turkey in the accession context is in the interests of both Europe and the Turkish people. However, Turkey needs to begin to re-engage constructively with the EU, and also with the Council of Europe in relation to human rights and basic freedoms, in order for the accession process to be set back on the right path.