Slovene commissioner to support EU ambitions of other former-Yugoslav states

27-02-2004

The EU Commission has been deciding where it's 10 new members will work before getting their own portfolios - a kind of work shadowing. Current Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen is to be twinned with Slovenia's upcoming EU commissioner Janez Potocnik. Ksenjia Samardzija-Matul asked Mr Potocnik what he hopes to achieve over the next six months.

"Of course it is continuing the work that has been very well done from the side of Commissioner Guenther Verheugen, I think he is doing great work and I am very happy that I can help him in this half of the year it will be a quite tough half of the year, there a some questions still on the agenda, from the side of Croatia, the follow up of negotiation with Romania and Bulgaria, and especially tough is of course discussion and decisions concerning Turkey."

Will you emphasize and stress the positions of other former Yugoslav States, willing to join the European Union?

"I think it is very important not to lose the contact with these countries, they have high hopes on the European Union future and their future in the European Union. Their future is only the European Union. So we have to give them positive messages, but they also have to be aware that positive messages are simply not enough. It is a lot of very difficult work at home, and sometimes quite a lot of difficult decisions but that is the thing, which is getting you also a place among the member states."

So you can help the European Union because Slovenia has been a part of former Yugoslavia what will be your main stress in this field what can you give the European Union?

"What can we give? Concerning the countries which you mentioned before we can be the perfect bridge because we understand the language we know the problems we have been even starting from the same position, the aquis communitaire, the legal order in Slovenia and in these countries was exactly the same. So we have good economic contacts, still good friends there and I think it is easier to explain them in a frank manner what are the things to be done, that they can follow our example. Slovenia, I think for all of them is a good example and I think they are also seeing us as somebody, who has passed this way in a positive way and if they see and they see the future in the same way as we do, as a member of the European Union it is worth while to have them."

27-02-2004

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