European Western Balkans

EPP Group: Need balance between green light and yellow card

EEP Group

BRUSSELS – The EPP Group welcomes the progress that the candidate and potential candidate countries for EU membership have made in reforming their states and societies towards their European path. Following today’s presentation by the European Commission of the 2015 Enlargement Package, Sandra Kalniete MEP, Vice-Chairwoman of the EPP Group responsible for Neighbourhood Policy and Euronest, and Cristian Preda MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, encouraged them to do even more.

“While the European Union is undergoing a period of consolidation, we need more than ever to have a credible enlargement policy in order to prevent the possible reverse of the reforms made in a number of countries. I commend in particular the efforts of the ordinary people that see their future in the big Union”, stressed Kalniete.

Given the refugee crisis and conflicts in Europe’s neighbourhood, Cristian Preda outlined the even closer cooperation: “It is necessary now more than ever to strengthen our enlargement policy and reaffirm our support for candidate and potential candidate countries, both the Western Balkans but also Turkey, which remains an important partner. We need the right balance between encouraging them and showing a yellow card when necessary.”

This year’s Enlargement Package contains a mix of continuity with EU past policies and innovation regarding the methodology of the evaluation of progress achieved by the countries concerned.

“By continuing to put emphasis on the fundamentals, promotion of democracy, rule of law and human rights as well as economic and social development in the accession countries, we can help them move closer to Europe. And the new methodology will certainly bring much needed clarity regarding progress achieved and concrete steps needed to progress with reforms”, explained Preda.

The continuation of major reforms is crucial for the EPP Group Vice-Chairwoman: “The progress reports under the new methodology should encourage fair comparisons, friendly competition and mutual learning among the reformers in the region. It is also important to see the synergies between the EU and NATO enlargement processes: they are linked by the focus on the rule of law, progress in this area being a key condition for both accessions”, she concluded.

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