As Hungary prepares for the upcoming EU Presidency one interesting development this week was Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi’s comments to MTI news agency that Hungary unambiguously and firmly supports Turkish accession to the EU. In a press Conference after a meeting with Turkey’s chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis Mr. Martonyi further added that Hungary would also submit proposals making the EU’s visa policy more easy and flexible for Turkish citizens during the Presidency. In response Mr. Bagis said he considered Hungary to be one of its closest allies in the EU.
The previous day Mr. Bagis had meant with Czech enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule in which Mr. Fule said that Turkey must do more to protect press and religious freedoms and to resolve the issue of Northern Cyprus. Turkish membership to the EU has significantly stalled in recent years with 18 out of the necessary 35 Chapters needed for accession currently blocked. In trying to bring momentum back into the Turkish EU membership question Budapest faces a sizeable task.
Croatian accession treaty plans could face holdup
The hope that it’s border nation Croatia will wrap up accession talks during the Hungarian EU Presidency suffered a blow when European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso stated this week( Oct. 25) that Croatia’s accession plans may be completed by the end of 2011 rather than in the Spring, as initially targeted by Zagreb and Budapest.
Mr. Barosso said that whilst ‘important progresses had been made, more concrete reforms were needed.
Back in June Secretary of state for EU affairs Eniko Gyori stated that ‘Hungary hopes to sign the accession treaty with Croatia during its term in charge’.