At the inaugural session of the Delegation for Relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo of the European Parliament, Tonino Picula MEP was elected by acclamation for the Chairman of the Delegation. He was elected to a five-year term.
“Bosnia and Kosovo are faced with serious and demanding challenges in their ambitions to join the European Union. Together with colleagues from the delegation, we will invest all of our experience, knowledge and willingness to help those countries in realizing these ambitions, ” said Picula honoured by the new function and thanked his colleagues for their trust.
A Delegation with Picula on the head consists of twenty four MEPs, of which thirteen members and eleven substitute members.
The Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina & Kosovo (DSEE) originates from the Delegation for South-East Europe, which was constituted on 17 November 1994. The present inter-parliamentary relations with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo have an annual cycle (one meeting a year for each country) and are based on voluntary decisions, awaiting the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs). The relations with these two countries take the form of Inter-parliamentary Meetings (IPM). The relations with remaining Western Balkan countries: Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYROM), Montenegro and Serbia have been upgraded (from IPM status) in 2004, 2010 and in 2013 following the entry into force of the relevant SAAs and are conducted by the separate delegations. The Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina & Kosovo (DSEE) is the “successor” to the Delegation for relations with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which had been functioning since 1981, then renamed delegation for relations with the republics of former Yugoslavia. It has been responsible for interparliamentary relations with five countries in South-East Europe, i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (then, State Union of Serbia-Montenegro and today: Republic of Serbia, Republic of Montenegro, Republic of Kosovo) and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Albania was included in a three-country delegation with Romania and Bulgaria between 1991 and 1994, when it became part of the Delegation for relations with South-East Europe. In 2002, the European Parliament decided to initiate informal interparliamentary relations with Kosovo. The official relations with the Parliamentary Assembly of Kosovo started in May 2008, following the declaration of independence.