BRUSSELS – Following yesterday’s presentation of the new EU enlargement methodology proposal, some of the European Parliament (EP) groups have welcomed the proposal.
Renew Europe Group
The largest centrist EP group noted that the new methodology must not turn into a new condition that will again leave the region in the backyard of the EU for a long-time, adding that reforming the EU itself, in order for it to be able to integrate new countries, also must be a priority.
Renew Europe Group’s leader, Dacian Cioloș assessed that the proposal represents a good step forward. “The next step, after agreeing on the new methodology, should be the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, because the enlargement process needs to not only administrative but also political”, said Cioloș.
The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) accentuated that the new methodology must not be used as an excuse to further delay the process of enlargement, “which already involves prolonged negotiations over the years or even decades”.
The S&Ds reiterated their call to the member states to finally open the accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia as soon as possible and hopefully already in March.
“The European Union must learn the lessons from past experiences, including Turkey. We need a strong mechanism to scale down or halt negotiations or redefine the final goal if a candidate country drifts away from the EU trajectory”, said EPP Group Spokesman on Foreign Affairs Michael Gahler.
The EPP Group also called for “more political focus” in the EU’s enlargement policy, noting that enlargement policy must continue to be a tool to promote European values, stability and prosperity beyond current EU borders.
The fifth-largest group in the European Parliament assessed that the new methodology will only be acceptable if it would be combined with the removal of the vetoes, in particular from Paris, that have so far frustrated Albania and North Macedonia. They also added that the package the Commissioner has offered is good and the mandate is clear, noting that now the Commissioner needs to deliver.
They emphasized that the European Commission has not been clear on the role of the European Green Deal in the new proposal. “This is a wasted opportunity to support accession and candidate countries in their path toward the green transition”, reckons Greens/EFA rapporteur on Kosovo Viola von Cramon.