Ministarstvo vanjskih i europskih poslova RH

Press Release:

Dubrovnik, 11 July 2014 - Bildt: Juncker's enlargement statement wrong

(Hina) - The statement by European Commission President-designate Jean-Claude Juncker that the European Union would not admit any new member in the next five years is possibly correct but it sends a wrong message, if that is the only thing Juncker could say on the topic of enlargement, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in Dubrovnik where he was participating in the Croatia Forum event.

The statement is wrong and should be corrected, Bildt said during a panel on the future of the European Union enlargement.

The Swedish official said that during his term as European Enlargement Commissioner, Štefan Füle had done a lot and that now it was necessary to make sure that his successor was firm and trustworthy and that he championed the matter of enlargement.

Bildt expressed concern about two issues: the decelerated reforms in the region's countries faced with high unemployment and the absence of strategic prospects of enlargement in the European Union.

He said that reforms had decelerated in many countries and that none of the Western Balkan countries had a functioning market economy.

On the other hand, the Union lacks enthusiasm about enlargement and these two things are reason for concern, he added.

If there is no enlargement, we will have security risks, Bildt said.

Austria's Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Linhart called on the aspirants to continue pursuing reforms, describing regional cooperation as vital.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Tibor Navracsics said that the EU was not only about economy but also about the geopolitical stability of the entire European continent.

He found the enlargement to be of huge implications for Europe's stability.

This year's edition of Croatia Forum brought together 17 foreign ministers and 39 delegations.