Inter-Parliamentary Conference Meets in Zagreb

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, March 4, 2020 – The EU’s credibility depends on the European Council’s decision in March and on the date for opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, an inter-parliamentary conference in Zagreb agreed on Tuesday.

Blocking the opening of negotiations for these two aspirants in October last year, “seriously shook the Union’s credibility in the Western Balkans,” said MEP Tonino Picula, (SDP/S&D), who is the rapporteur for the Western Balkans and member of the European Parliament’s (EP) Foreign Affairs Committee, at the meeting on the European prospects for Balkan countries.

Picula believes that the European Council has to give the green light to Balkan countries at the end of this months because that will “show the EU’s credibility.” “Enlargement means removing the black hole in the heart of Europe,” said MEP Željana Zovko (HDZ/EPP) and a member of the EP’s foreign affairs committee.

Zovko said that the “Zagreb summit in May should provide an impetus for EU enlargement.” She believes that it is in Croatia’s interest to move the Union’s borders and that “a new voice of Europe is necessary, a voice that is not selfish and one that cares for European interests.”

Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, the Director for Western Balkans at the Directorate General for European Neighbourhood Policy, said that the Union’s executive body wishes to revive the process of enlargement which has left its mark on the credibility of European institutions.

I am absolutely optimistic and convinced that we will open negotiations with the two Balkan countries, Calavera said. The EU’s credibility depends on that decision, she added.

In February the European Commission released a new methodology for enlargement and Calavera recalled that drawing closer to the Union is primarily based on merits.

The revised methodology is one thing while assessing a country’s progress is another matter, she underscored.

Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are still waiting to be given candidate status. North Macedonia and Albania are waiting for accession negotiations to be opened while Serbia and Montenegro are in the process of those negotiations and can decide for themselves if they wish the new methodology to apply to them.

We are all pleased with a common European future but we wish everyone to adhere to the same values and rules, Dutch MEP Sven Koopmans said.

He believes that there is some doubt about the rule of law in those countries, which sometimes is not respected in some EU members at that.

Belgian MEP Mark Demesmaeker believes that if those countries regress the process should be stopped.

MEP Nathalie Loiseau from France, which was in October outspokenly critical of Europe’s enlargement in the near future, said that one should not speak of enlargement but of consolidation with the inclusion Western Balkan countries which she described as European countries.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.


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