European Western Balkans

Plenary votes on progress reports on Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo

Strasbourg, 11.03.2015. – Following the debate in the European Parliament’s plenary session on progress reports, Eduard Kukan, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Chair of the EU-Serbia Delegation of the EP, had the following comments:

It was a lengthy, but very important discussion with the Council and Commissioner Hahn last night. As a general observation, I would like to see less bilateral issues discussed in the plenary, and more focus on reform substance.

Montenegro is the leader in the accession process, and should be encouraged to continue the good work. It is appreciated that Montenegro clearly aligned with EU’s CFSP and plays a positive role in the region. More attention needs to be paid to further advance in to rule of law, fight against organized crime and corruption and judicial reform and an increased Parliament’s role in the integration process. The EU should also continue to advocate for a media environment that is free of political interference.

I have supported Macedonia in its ambitions to open the accession negotiations for years. Yet, I am quite disturbed when looking at the recent political situation since it overshadows progress made over the last years. The wiretapping scandal is hitting the very basics of the political and democratic system undermines the trust of its citizens in politics. In this respect, the EU needs to be ready to get the country back on track. 

Serbia has moved along on the reform agenda, and we therefore call for the opening of the negotiation chapters. Further reforms in the area of rule of law are central: reforming the judiciary and stressing the importance of independent bodies. Alignment with EU’s foreign policy is important, especially in regards to relations with Russia.

In Kosovo, consequences of failure in economic and social policies are dire and they need to be addressed without further ado. Equally, fight against organized crime and corruption are of great importance. On our part, we should be ready to adopt the SAA and move forward on visa liberalisation. We also need shed light on the EULEX corruption allegations.

It goes without saying that the Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue is closely followed in Brussels and instrumental for regional stability. As I have repeated, implementation of agreements remains the cornerstone of the dialogue. Without implementation, they cannot be seen as real progress.

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