Zagreb, 15 October: Austria plans on holding a conference on the Balkans in the first half of 2006, when it takes over the presidency of the European Union, President Heinz Fischer said in Zagreb on Saturday [15 October].
Speaking at the final press conference of Central European presidents at the end of the two-day Croatia Summit 2005, Fischer said the summit had proved that other countries in the region were also interested in European integration.
He said the summit had been very successful and an opportunity for presidents of Central European countries to get to know each other better.
Croatia is developing very positively, said Klaus Mangold, executive adviser of the president of DaimlerChrysler AG and chairman of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations. He was speaking on behalf of a European business delegation which attended the summit.
We concluded that Croatia is developing very positively and the European economy advocates that it become a member of the EU as soon as possible, he said, adding that everything would be done to support Croatia so that its entry negotiations did not last too long.
Mangold said that today the summit focused on economic issues and that it was clearly said that nobody in the European economy advocated unbridled capitalism.
We always try to find a balanced way between what the world economy makes us do in terms of competition and the social acceptability of a process in which the people in Europe will feel good, he said.
We feel there can be no employment or social peace in Europe without growth, which is common to both politics and the economy and a fact we highly appreciate, Mangold added.
The European business delegation represents EUR400 billion in turnover and 1.6 billion employees, he said.
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic said an important topic of all talks during the summit had been the challenge represented by globalisation and how to deal with its consequences.
Albanian President Alfred Moisiu said the debate on economic issues had been very important because one could not aspire to progress without a developed economy or prospects of economic development.
Asked about the final status of Kosovo, he said the population of Kosovo wanted independence.
The will of the people of Kosovo is independence and we are convinced that only this will bring about peace and stability in the region, Moisiu said, adding that Kosovo must become part of the integration process because it was the only way to turn towards a peaceful future.
Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski said the launching of EU entry negotiations was a historic moment for Croatia and a big encouragement to Macedonia and the entire region because it was clear that the enlargement process was not stopped.
The project of European unification is so important that regardless of all controversies and disputes, it must be completed successfully, he said, voicing hope that at next year's summit of Central European presidents in Bulgaria, Macedonia would enjoy EU candidate status.
Bosnia and Hercegovina President Ivo Miro Jovic said the Zagreb summit would support his country's attempts to adopt EU standards and that it had demonstrated that the EU was open for all who organized their country in accordance with principles valid in Europe.
The heads of states who attended the summit unanimously assessed it as very successful and well-organized. They departed from Zagreb in the afternoon.
Tight security measures were taken for the event, causing major traffic gridlocks around Zagreb's Westin hotel and at the airport.
Source: HINA news agency, Zagreb, in English 1534 gmt 15 Oct 05