Representative in Parliament of BiH Saša Magazinović (SDP), at the presentation of the European Strategy in Strasbourg, stated that it is important for BiH to reform and advance to secure access to the European Union (EU). It is especially important for BiH to deal with organized crime, with an additional emphasis on the link between politics and crime. He also affirmed that the country will not get far away with current politicians and political habits.
Foreign Minister Khemais Jhinaoui, who is visiting Brussels on Monday, said that 2018 will be a very important year for partnership between Tunisia and the European Union. A partnership which, he said, has reached “a maturity” reflected in particular by the move to “a higher level of the EU’s commitment to Tunisia” and the launching of a reflection on the future of post-2020 relations, which requires “a renewed, more inclusive partnership based on common democratic values”. The minister said he had discussed with Ms. Mogherini EU financial support to Tunisia in particular regarding the release of the second tranche of the 150 million Euro macro-financial assistance.He also said that Tunisia and the EU have agreed to move to a higher level in terms of mobility and exchanges between young people and strengthening programmes for Tunisian youth. We have, he explained, examined the possibilities of implementing new initiatives dedicated to youth such as Erasmus + for young entrepreneurs and Erasmus + for young apprentices.
In Brussels took place the 9th Subcommittee meeting on Trade, Industry, Customs and Taxation between the European Union and Albania. On this occasion, is taken into consideration the progress achieved by Albania, in particular regarding the alignment of national legislation with the European acquis. Albanian representative illustrated progress on the removal of restrictions on the free movement of goods, and on measures to facilitate tax procedures. They also informed about ongoing negotiations on trade agreements with third countries, presented an update concerning industrial policies, including support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as providing information with regards on measures to improve the business environment in line with Albania’s commitments under the Economic Reform Programme (ERP). As reported by Albanian Daily News, the Commission looked positively the increase of Albania exports to EU and welcomed measures to align legislation to the European acquis as well as the adoption of the CEFTA Additional Protocol 5. Thus, the Commission encouraged the government of Albania to further proceed in the engagement with CEFTA, the participation in COSME, and the Tourism Strategy.
France has a continuous dialogue with Azerbaijan, the main economic partner in the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan wants to diversify its economy, the exchanges will make it possible to take stock of projects involving French companies, particularly in the fields of energy, transport, environment, urban development and tourism.
The ministers will also discuss relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union, regional security, as well as the settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian will insist on the importance of implementing the decisions taken by the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents during their meeting in Geneva on October 16, 2017. He will assure his counterpart of France’s full commitment to the efforts of co-chairing the Minsk Group to find a negotiated and lasting solution to the conflict.
On Wednesday, Iraqi Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili signed with European Union representatives an agreement for EU funding of reconstruction and demining projects worth 60 million of euros as international donors continue efforts to address the dilemma of millions displaced by the war against the Islamic State. In a press conference following the signature of the deal he said that the projects purpose is to restore stability and to repatriate civilians to areas recaptured from militants. In fact, Iraq is getting 50.4 million of euros for reviving economic activity, rehabilitating infrastructures and supporting small-sized enterprises at liberated areas and 10 million of euros will address explosives contamination at those areas. In a separate declaration, the UK embassy in Iraq announced that next year the UK will provide £30 million to help restore livelihoods, essential infrastructures and basic services in Iraq, including to support displaced communities to return safely to liberated areas. At least £20 million will also be provided in humanitarian aid “to help deliver urgent life-saving assistance like food, shelter and access to clean water”, as he said.
The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati participated at the conference, organized in Brussels by the German Foundation Hanns Seidel, “High expectations for 2018. Albania’s next step in the European Integration Process”. The Minister underlined the progress made by the government to reach the established priorities, referring in particular to the justice system reform and the fight against organized crime. Thus 2018 is expected to be a ‘decisive year’ for the European Union accession process. In reiterating the government’s willingness to achieve the required objectives, Bushati said he also felt encouraged by the support regarding the enlargement to the Balkans expressed both by the President of the European Commission and by the French President Macron. The Director-General for Enlargement at the European Commission, Mr. Christian Danielson, complimented the Albanian government on the effort of reforms.
The prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania have expressed support for Serbia’s bid to join them in the European Union, saying the move would help guarantee regional peace and security. “All of us know that the natural place of Serbia is in the European Union”, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov told reporters after a summit on October 3 in the Black Sea city of Varna. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also attended the talks, which focused on joint infrastructure projects, economic and energy cooperation, and security issues. Serbia, along with Montenegro, is the Western Balkan country closest to joining the EU, having initiated accession talks with Brussels in 2014. Serbian leader Vucic, a former nationalist, has remade himself as a pro-European Union reformer while at the same time seeking to maintain good relations with traditional ally Russia. Despite the hopes of EU membership, Vucic on October 3 accused the bloc of having a double standard by refusing to accept this week’s Catalan independence referendum while having previously agreed to an independent Kosovo. “We support Spain. It is our friendly country”, Vucic said. “But the European Commission responded in a different way [regarding Kosovo] and it was against my people and my state”.
Italy, French, Germany and Spain have a signed a common initiative to profoundly review the actual taxation system to assure a more efficient, fair and clear tax system. The four countries signed this common initiative 4 days before the meeting that will take place in Talllin. They propose to ensure that all the goods and service are subject to the same VAT wheter they are digital or physical, they also added that there shouldn’t be double standards because it can weaken competition. About the web tax the document reaffirmed the Ecofin’s approach, that implement the principle of a taxation based on where the revenues are generated, but that means that we should quit the idea of a permanent establishment of companies that collides with the new era of a digital business.
European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has sent a letter of intent to the European Parliament president and the chairperson of the Council of the EU. This happened on Wednesday, Tanjug is reporting today, citing the European Western Balkans website. In the letter, Juncker “announced that the European Commission plans to create the strategy for the successful accession of Serbia and Montenegro to the European Union by the end of next year, with a perspective of accession to the EU in 2025”. The website added that “in one of the ten priorities of the ‘Roadmap for a More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union’ Serbia and Montenegro are mentioned as the main candidates from the Western Balkans to join the European Union, whose strategy for successful accession should be created”.
FM Dimitrov said to Reuters that Macedonia hopes it has done enough to convince the European Union to start accesion talks while a quarter of a century long row with neighbouring Greece rumbles on. Greece has vetoed the ex Yugoslav republic’s attempts to join both the EU and NATO beacuse according to Dimitrov the name Macedonia implies a territorial claim over Greece’own northerly region of Macedonia. Time it takes to go through the EU membership process might give Greece, which has previously insisted that Skopje use a compound name such as “New” or “Upper” Macedonia, enough comfort that process can be halted if needed. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave a boost to Macedonia’s EU hopes, and those of Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Kosovo, saying on Wednesday: “We must maintain a credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans.