MEPs urge the European Council to decide at its meeting on 14-15 December to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. Provided certain reform steps are taken, they say that accession talks should also be opened with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Georgia should be granted candidate status.
MEPs welcome the new Growth Plan for the Western Balkans and call on EU leaders to also adopt the negotiating framework without delay, once the relevant requirements related to each of the candidate countries are fulfilled in order to start the accession negotiations swiftly.
Clear EU enlargement timetable needed
MEPs welcome the interest and political will from so many countries to join the EU, and acknowledge the serious efforts being made to meet the requirements for membership. They welcome the willingness of the Government of Armenia to come closer to the European Union.
The EU should establish clear deadlines for the candidate countries to conclude EU accession negotiations by the end of this decade, MEPs stress.
There should be no fast-track for membership though, they say. MEPs insist that the Copenhagen criteria must be fulfilled to ensure that candidate and potential candidate countries demonstrate a consistent and enduring commitment to democracy, rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, and economic reforms.
Enlargement is a strategic investment in peace and security
In view of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, enlargement has become even more strategically important, and is one of the strongest geopolitical tools at the EU’s disposal, MEPs say, calling it a strategic investment in peace and security, as well as a driver for democracy and European values across the continent.
MEPs call on the next College of Commissioners to nominate a Commissioner for Enlargement and to ensure that the bilateral issues are clearly separated from EU enlargement policy.
MEPs strongly deplore the statements by the Prime Minister of Hungary concerning the opening of accession negotiations with Ukraine, and the change in the country’s policy towards Kosovo. Mr Orban’s statements obstruct the EU enlargement process, warn MEPs, who remind the Council of the potential negative consequences of Hungary taking over the Council’s Presidency in July 2024.
Need for internal EU reforms as preparations for new members
The resolution emphasizes the need for internal EU reforms in parallel with the enlargement process, to enhance the European Union’s capacity to integrate new members effectively, including through the introduction of qualified majority voting that would also apply to foreign and security policy decisions and in areas relevant to the accession process.
The resolution was adopted by 468 votes in favour, 99 against and 58 abstentions.
Preuzeto od www.europarl.europa.eu: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20231208IPR15784/