BRUSSELS – Two members of the European People’s Party have been elected as European Parliament Standing Rapporteurs for the Western Balkan countries yesterday. Vladimir Bilčik from Slovakia will be the Rapporteur for Serbia, while Paulo Rangel from Portugal will be in charge of reports on Bosnia and Herzegovina, EWB finds out.
European People’s Party (EPP) retained the positions of Rapporteurs for the two Balkan countries. During the previous mandate of the European Parliament, David McAllister served as the Rapporteur for Serbia, while Cristian Dan Preda was the Rapporteur for BiH.
Ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is an associate member of the EPP, while several parties from BiH hold the observing membership status: SDA, HDZ BiH and PDP.
Who are the new Rapporteurs?
Bilčik, a newcomer to the European Parliament and a member of centre-right SPOLU, was previously elected as the Chair of the Delegation to EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee.
“I would like to use my expertise and political energy to support the EU’s active role in the Western Balkans and I am ready to work with both countries in their respective efforts towards EU membership”, stated Bilčik upon his election as Rapporteur.
Previously, Bilčik worked as a political analyst and a university professor.
On the other hand, Paulo Rangel is an experienced MEP, winning his third mandate in 2019 as the leading candidate of the liberal-conservative Social Democratic Party of Portugal.
Rangel is also the Vice-Chair of the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament and the Vice-President of the European People’s Party.
Before entering European Parliament, Rangel was a member of the national parliament. He is a jurist by profession and has been a member of the Constitutional Committee of the EP ever since he became MEP.
Rangel is not the only MEP from Portugal to become the Rapporteur for a Western Balkan country. His colleague from S&D group Isabel Santos was previously elected as the Rapporteur for Albania.
Croatian MEP Tonino Picula (S&D) is the new Rapporteur for Montenegro. Member of the liberal Renew Europe group Ilhan Kyuchyuk from Bulgaria will be in charge of North Macedonia, while German Greens MEP Viola von Cramon has succeeded Igor Šoltes as a Rapporteur for Kosovo.
Rapporteurs of the European Parliament for the Western Balkan countries are responsible for drafting the annual reports adopted by EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee and then discussed in the plenary sessions. It is an non-binding but influential way to point out the issues EU is most concerned with when it comes to the candidate countries.