MEPs: Western Balkans should be included in EU+ export authorization scheme

EP building in Brussels; Photo: European Parliament

BRUSSELS – Members of various groups in the European Parliament have sent a joint letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen requesting that the Western Balkan countries be included in a scheme of export restrictions of medical equipment and joint procurement of crisis-relevant goods.

Members of the European People’s Party (EPP), Greens and the Liberals (“Renew Europe”) in the European Parliament have sent a letter to the President of the European Commission stating that European coordination of the COVID-19 pandemic should also include the Western Balkan countries.

They warned that the imposed restrictions of exports on medical equipment could have serious consequences for the region.

“Health systems in these countries are generally weaker, which is why the Western Balkan countries need enforced protection from EU side. Therefore, we urge you to include all six Western Balkan countries in the EU+ export authorization scheme that currently covers EU Member States as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom”, EU parliamentarians wrote.

According to them, the Western Balkan countries should also be able to participate in joint procurement of the crisis-relevant goods”.

“The people of the Western Balkans feel and live as Europeans. The EU has repeatedly put the enlargement process on hold. Nevertheless, these countries have been supporting us for years on migration and other areas. Now it is our turn to show solidarity”, MEPs wrote.

MEPs Lukas Mandl (EPP), Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Greens), Rapporteur for Kosovo, Ilhan Kyuchyuk (“Renew Europe”), rapporteur for North Macedonia and Andrey Kovatchev (EPP) concluded in a letter to Ursula von der Leyen that the pandemic affects everyone, and that the solidarity of all European countries can save lives.