BRUSSELS – Tanja Fajon (S&D) is the new Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, while Vladimir Bilčik (EPP) will chair the EP Delegation to EU-Montenegro SAPC.
Names of the new Chairs of Delegations for other Western Balkan countries are expected to be announced later today.
Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committees are advisory bodies formed on the basis of Stabilisation and Association agreements with the EU. They are composed of EU Delegations and Delegations of national parliaments and usually meet twice a year, once in the national parliament and once in the European Parliament.
Who are the new Chairs?
Tanja Fajon has been a member of the European since 2009. As an MEP from Slovenia, she has been the Rapporteur on visa liberalisation for several Balkan’s countries, achieving a visa-free regime for Balkan citizens and was strongly advocating for Kosovars to also get an opportunity to travel around Europe without visas. She was also a Shadow Rapporteur on Serbia, raising attention on decreasing freedom of speech in this country.
Expressing her gratitude for the support she received today, Fajon also congratulated her compatriot Franc Bogovič on becoming the vice-chair. She stated that she is looking forward to new challenges.
Slovenian opinion polls showed Fajon to be one of the most popular political figures in the country. Having always had harsh and critical rhetoric towards political elites in the region, some media called her an “MEP that sees what others do not want to see”.
In the previous parliamentary mandate, Chair of the Delegation for Serbia has been now retired MEP Eduard Kukan. The EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee between EU and Serbia last met in March 2019.
Vladimir Bilčik, Slovak MEP, is a member of the European People’s Party. This is his first mandate in the European Parliament.
According to press release, he said that has been striving to play an active role in enlargement agenda in the Western Balkans region since the start of his mandate.
“I am therefore very pleased to have been elected as Chair of the EU-Montenegro SAPC Delegation. I will take on this role with utmost responsibility”, said Bilčik after his election.
Previously, Bilčik worked as a political analyst and a university professor. He was a member of the Department of Political Science at Comenius University in Bratislava and is a member of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association (SFPA). In the past, he used to work as an advisor to the Slovak government’s representative for the Convention on the Future of Europe (2002-2003).
Earlier this year, he commented on the Western Balkans EU path, stating that the EU is still focused on the region, but that the conditions for accepting new members have become stricter.
Between 2014 and 2017 Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee was chaired by Anneliese Dodds, who left the position after UK General Election in 2017. She was replaced by her colleague David Martin.