Examination of Witnesses (Questions 260-262)|
30 NOVEMBER 2004
MP AND MS
Q260 Chairman: Minister, we have kept
you in the field for a long time, but I have one final question
on NATO, if I may. Certainly, there seems to be a great ground
swell of support within NATO for both Macedonia and its two colleagues,
Croatia and Albania, in the Adriatic Three. In your judgment is
this support sufficient for there to be a realistic prospect of
the door to full NATO membership opening? I believe 2007 is the
Mr MacShane: I do not see membership
on the immediate horizon.
Q261 Chairman: Not in 2007?
Mr MacShane: Everything is possible.
I think we need a great deal of reforms from all the countries
you have mentioned. We have not discussed Albania in this hearing,
but I think Albania has got a long way to go. That is a matter
for NATO authorities to discuss, so I will not commit to a date
today, but I really think we want to see a lot of reforms. You
mentioned Croatia, and I will end as I began, by saying that we
need to see Croatia as an authority over all levels of its military,
security, political, economic and civil society under the rule
of law in the question of a gentleman, Mr Gotovina, accused of
very serious war crimes.
Q262 Chairman: Minister, we have asked
you for a large number of notes, but on the question of NATO membership,
perhaps there could be some indication of when the prospect of
NATO membership is next discussed and, therefore, when there could
be a possibility for Macedonia or the other two countries?
Mr MacShane: My colleagues in
Macedonia continually ask to be considered and they have submitted
an EU membership application earlier this year. Mr Prodi, the
then President Prodi, referred to it in the funeral oration he
delivered over the dead President. My view in every bit of the
conversations is: "Yes, please do your best". The ambition
is there, they have got an excellent European integration office,
as indeed they have in Croatia. "Make my day, make the grade"
is my message.
Ms Pierce: May I just add, Chairman.
At the moment it is NATO policy not to set a target date for the
next wave of enlargement which, obviously, encompasses the Adriatic
Three. It is not just a question of meeting the defence reform
criteria, political conditionality is key which is one of the
reasons why targets dates are not being set.
Chairman: Minister, Ms Pierce, thank
you very much indeed on behalf of the Committee.