The next three presidencies of the Council of the EU will make continued efforts to pursue the accession negotiations with Turkey and to give these negotiations a new impetus, based on the progress made by Ankara as regards its EU obligations.

In addition, the European Union will continue to call on Turkey to actively support the negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus and in line with the principles on which the Union is founded.

As outlined in the 18 month programme of the next three Council Presidencies (Ireland, Lithuania and Greece from 1 January 2013 – 30 June 2014), they will give a new impetus to Turkey’s negotiations “by further encouraging Turkey to continue its reform process and to advance in the fulfillment of negotiating benchmarks, meet the requirements of the negotiating Framework, respect contractual obligations towards the EU and all its Member States, and make progress on the issues covered by the declaration of the European Union and its Member States of 21 September 2005”.

They also note that the positive agenda with Turkey will be pursued, with a view to supporting the negotiation process, in line with the Negotiating Framework and the relevant Council conclusions.

As regards Croatia, monitoring of Croatia`s fulfillment of all commitments undertaken in the accession negotiations will continue until Croatia becomes a full Member. Pending the successful conclusion of procedures for ratification of the Accession Treaty, Croatia will become the 28th Member State of the EU on 1 July 2013.

The accession negotiations with Iceland will continue and may reach their final stage by the end of 2013, depending on Iceland`s progress in meeting the requirements for membership set out in the Negotiating Framework.

Following the launch of accession negotiations with Montenegro in June 2012, and on the basis of the outcome of the screening process, substantive negotiations will be pursued. The three Presidencies will endeavour to maintain a sustained pace in these negotiations, based on the new approach, provided that Montenegro is able to comply with the requirements set in the Negotiating Framework.

Accession negotiations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia may be launched, depending on a decision of the Council and an endorsement by the European Council.

The start of accession negotiations with Serbia will depend on further progress in
the reforms process, in line with the Council Conclusions of December 2011 and of February 2012, depending on a decision of the Council and endorsement by the European Council.

The three Presidencies note that by making solid progress in economic and political reforms and by fulfilling the necessary conditions and requirements, the remaining potential candidates in the Western Balkans can achieve candidate status, according to their own merits, with European Union membership as the ultimate goal.

Particular attention will be paid to the European perspective of the Western Balkans. To mark the political commitment to the European integration of the Western Balkans, an EU-Western Balkans Summit (“Thessaloniki II”) will take place in the first half of 2014.

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