“Despite the progress on their way to the EU, our three Western Balkans partners - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo - have much more work to do in order to align with European values”, said the EPP Group Spokesman on the Western Balkans, Andrey Kovatchev MEP, ahead of today’s debate in the plenary of the European Parliament on the annual reports taking stock of the progress made by the three countries.
Bosnia and Herzegovina must remain united and its territorial integrity untouched. “We denounce the disregard for international and national norms and obligations, all hate rhetoric and the blockade of state institutions, particularly by the leadership of the Republika Srpska entity. This destabilises the country and violates the Dayton Peace Agreement”, said Kovatchev. The EPP Group supports targeted sanctions against those who endanger the integrity of the country. “Now, the leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina has to finalise the constitutional and electoral reform and advance on its European path”, Kovatchev stressed.
Kosovo has shown commitment in implementing the necessary reforms and there is broad public support for European integration and identity. “Now is the time for the government to use its stable majority to push the implementation of the reforms even more. Now is the time when the European Union has to deliver on its promises to establish a visa-free regime for Kosovo after the conditions have been met”, added Kovatchev.
Serbia is the only EU candidate country which has still not aligned with the common EU policy on Russia. “As a candidate country, now is the time for Belgrade to make a clear commitment on which side it supports. The EPP Group recalls that a credible enlargement perspective requires political will, sustainable efforts and irreversible reforms in all areas”, emphasised Kovatchev.
The EPP Group wants to continue the EU enlargement in the Western Balkans to bring more stability to the region and to Europe as a whole. “The unification of the European continent based on democracy is the most important condition for a secure and peaceful future of Europe. The Western Balkans are a particularly important link in that matter”, said Rasa Juknevičienė MEP, EPP Group Vice-Chair in charge of foreign policy.
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo do not have EU candidate country status yet, while Serbia was granted the status in 2012. The three reports will be voted on in plenary on Wednesday.
Note to editors
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 176 Members from all EU Member States