H.E. Karl Diem: Austria Ratification will Follow EC Spring Report

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | December 23, 2005, Friday // 00:00
H.E. Karl Diem: Austria Ratification will Follow EC Spring Report Photo by Yuliana Nikolova (Sofia News Agency)

H.E. Karl Diem was appointed Austria's Ambassador to Bulgaria in the middle of December 2002. Prior to his arrival to Sofia he served in Austria's Embassy in Brussels (1972-1974), Rabat (1974-1978). From 1980 till 1984 he worked in Austria's Embassy to the Holy See and Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Rome. His work took him to Baghdad in May-July 1981, New York (Austria's deputy resident representative in UN). Austria's Ambassador to Tunis and political representative in PLO (1993-1997), in Lebanon, based in Vienna (1998 - 1999).

Ambassador Karl Diem answered questions of Sofia News Agency Editor-in-Chief Milena Hristova.

This is the fifth interview in a series that will present to Sofia News Agency readers the views of EU member states ambassadors on Bulgaria's EU prospects.

Q: Which were Bulgaria's achievements and failures in 2005 in its efforts to draw closer to EU accession?

A: The signing of the accession negotiations on 25 April 2005 was certainly a major breakthrough and a proud moment in the history of Bulgaria. Another defining moment was the release of the Commission report on 25 October 2005. It is an excellent road map to accession identifying the hot spots and deficit areas. We await Bulgaria as a future family member, therefore we dare ask for more reforms and more progress. Strategies and actions plans are not enough to do the job. To ensure a high level of food safety, to fight organized crime and to ensure a fair and efficient justice system are not the only issues. We are also very much concerned with child welfare and social exclusion. For Bulgaria to enter the Union well prepared will be worth all the efforts. Constructive criticism is a gift only friends can give. For Bulgaria to slip into the EU with unfinished business will turn out to be a costly and difficult ride.

I have the impression that the year 2005 - as important as it was - was less dynamic than 2004. Having said that I would also like to note that I am very encouraged about the latest signals to combat organized crime in earnest. In the summer months Bulgaria lost time but this was a normal democratic process.

Q: What should Bulgaria do during the first half of next year to keep January 1, 2007 a feasible target date for EU accession?

A: I think those responsible know very well, certainly better than I, what to do. They do not need my advice. However in answering your questions I would like to say the obvious: that your country should concentrate on the outlined red and yellow areas and - apart from enacting laws - to actually implement existing legislation and reforms. The financial support with 545 Million Euro is a solid support through 2006. The implementation of the Penal Procedure Code will be important as well as the appointment of the new Chief Prosecutor.

Q: Will Austria wait for the European Commission monitoring report in the spring of 2006 to start the ratification of Bulgaria's EU accession treaty?

A: Yes. The ratification will follow the spring report. It will be completed in time for the treaty to enter into force on 1 January 2007.

Q: Could a delay in the complete ratification of Bulgaria's EU accession treaty by all member states deal a blow to the country's accession in 2007?

A: Yes. If the notification of the ratification in all Member states is not completed by 31 December 2006 the accession treaty will not enter into force and the treaty has to be renegotiated. This is extremely unlikely. According to international law a country having signed an agreement is bound to do everything possible to ensure the entry-into-force of this agreement. The same goes for the Constitutional Treaty where we hope to make headway during 2006.

We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Interview » Be a reporter: Write and send your article
Bulgaria news Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency - www.sofianewsagency.com) is unique with being a real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news. The editorial staff also publishes a daily online newspaper "Sofia Morning News." Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency - www.sofianewsagency.com) and Sofia Morning News publish the latest economic, political and cultural news that take place in Bulgaria. Foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and World News in Brief are also part of the web site and the online newspaper. News Bulgaria