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09:25, 15 June 2013 Saturday

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Kosovo, Montenegro following Turkey's footsteps on EU path
Kosovo, Montenegro following Turkey's footsteps on EU path

"Turkey is a pure example of how the EU membership process should function and a role model for all of us," Kosovo's deputy EU minister said.

Kosovo and Montenegro, now focused on accession to the EUropean Union (EU) after splitting from Serbia, are following Turkey’s democracy and its negotiation experience as a model.

The smallest country of the Balkans, Montenegro, started accession negotiations last year, while potential member Kosovo’s integration highly depends on normalizing relations with Serbia. Other issues that Kosovo has to tackle with include economic problems, corruption, human trafficking, smuggling and organized crime.

According to Gezim Kasapolli, Kosovo’s Deputy EU Integration Minister and Chief Negotiator, obstacles Kosovo faces are "political, rather than technical, just like Turkey."

"Road for Turkey and Kosovo is not the same with other countries because of the political issues. Everything about Kosovo and Turkey seems to be political and even though we are very much enhanced in technical aspect, I think the political issues will continue to be very problematic in the future," said Kasapolli.

"Nevertheless, EU integration process is not completely something to do with the goal itself, but it is also about the road. As long as the road is efficient, and we are willing, we are able to do our homework, I think the end result, the moment when we enter to the EU, will be just another day."

He said Turkey, as a strong country and Kosovo’s only ally for EU membership, as well as economic issues, undertook an important responsibility in helping democratization of its neighbors, as illustrated by the Syria case.

"Turkey is a pure example of how the EU membership process should function and a role model for all of us," added Kasapolli.

"Balkans believe in Turkish democracy": secretary of State for EU Integration and Chief Negotiator of Montenegro

Montenegro, an independent country since 2006, and an EU candidate since 2010, still has many problems, first and foremost corruption and organized crime to solve.

Speaking to the AA, Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic, secretary of state for EU Integration and Chief Negotiator of Montenegro, said, "we are trying to learn from the Turkish example, trying to connect with Turkish counterparts to see how they actually move on the chapters (EU policy areas)."

Emphasizing that Turkey has prepared well, and had good experts on EU integration, Pejovic said, "we will be a strong advocate for Turkish accession, the same way Turkey is supporting Montenegro to enter NATO."

Expressing his opinion about the Gezi Park protests, Pejovic said, "I don’t feel that there is too much fuss created about that. We believe that Turkey is a democratic society, we have also lots of protests in the Balkans."


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