European Western Balkans

EP: Pre-accession assistance should be suspended if democracy and rule of law are not respected

European Parliament; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) demanded that the financial assistance for the countries in the EU accession process should be redistributed fairly, but that it should also be suspended in the cases of disrespect for democracy and the rule of law.

“EU Funds for the countries wanting to become members of the Union have to be redistributed on fair grounds and suspended in the cases of disrespect for democracy and the rule of law”, MEPs stated.

AFET adopted a position on the third Instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA III).

The proposal entails a conditioning provision, which implies that the countries in the process of accession which do not respect the core EU values of democracy, rule of law and human rights would face clear consequences in the sense of EU finances.

“European Commission should suspend or temporarily block pre-accesssion assistance in the cases of constant violation of one or multiple Copenhagen criteria by the candidate countries”, Committee on Foreign Affairs.

MEPs also welcomed that the proposed framework for IPA III would be based on priorities and “fair participation principle”, rather than a country framework.

“It would introduce a larger flexibility in solving the rising needs of the partners and enable rewarding progress and achievements of the accession countries”, AFET’s announcement reads.

AFET members also urged the authorities in the countries which are in the process of enlargement to do more on raising awareness of EU funds and provide local media and wider public with the information on how the EU is contributing to this area.

The final position of the European Parliament, which contains a mandate for entering the negotiations with the Council should be adopted on 2 March, during the plenary session in Strasbourg.

In order to become obligatory, the text of this regulation must be agreed upon by both the European Parliament and the Council of EU.

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