EU Enlargement Policy to remain credible

LJUBLJANA 8.10.2014. – At today’s presentation of the 2014 Enlargement Package in the European Parliament, MEP and S&D Vice-President Tanja Fajon emphasized that the EU enlargement process has to remain a two-way street: “If aspirant countries deliver on reforms and fulfil the promise, we have to deliver too and reward this progress. It is important to let the Western Balkans countries and Turkey know that we fully support them in conducting reforms, yet that these reforms are necessary for their own progress. The pace of doing reforms determines the dynamics of the EU accession process”, MEP Fajon said.

She welcomed considerable progress achieved by certain countries and regretted some deadlocks. “Montenegro continues with reforms in the field of rule of law. Encouraging message – even though it is coming after several months of delay – is certainly yesterday’s appointment of the Prosecutor General. Since the beginning of the negotiations Serbia demonstrated high level of professionalism as well as readiness to implement reforms, yet a new impetus has to be given to the process of normalization of relations with Kosovo. Unfortunately concerns are still present when it comes to the freedom of media and expression, as well as in the field of the protection of minorities. Kosovo cannot afford further disagreements when it comes to forming the government as this delay hampers the continuation of reforms in the field of rule of law, public administration and economic governance, as well as the process of visa liberalization, where certain progress was indicated. Kosovo has also to invest more in improving the dialogue with Serbia. I share Commissioner Füle’s concerns about Bosnia and Herzegovina who unfortunately failed to achieve progress in core areas. General elections on this coming Sunday will determine the fate of this country, its credibility and political maturity. It is high time for responsible politics, including fulfilment of the commitments made by BiH in the process of EU accession. Politicians should be fully aware that they are in the service of their citizens and not in their own interests.

I also hope that after sixth recommendation on the start of negotiations Macedonia will seize the opportunity, as the progress mostly depends on its own. I am glad to see Albania succeeded in obtaining a positive assessment by the Commission by concrete actions and reforms and I expect this dynamic to continue. Disagreements between the political parties in the country should end. The boycott of the opposition poses a threat to the stability and inhibits the reform process.

The European Parliament will scrutinise and oversee the Commission’s enlargement policy and do everything we can for the countries with best possible support in their efforts. In the coming years Slovenia too should play an important role with a more active foreign policy towards the Western Balkans”, added Fajon.