The outcome of the Western Balkans summit
The European perspective of our partners in the Western Balkans is in our mutual interest and remains our shared strategic choice.
With the visit of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last month and the EU-Western Balkans Summit two weeks ago in Brdo, the European Union has demonstrated its strong political commitment to the Western Balkan countries and the accession process.
The Brdo Declaration sent five important and positive messages to our partners.
- It has reconfirmed the European perspective of the region and our commitment to enlargement.
- The EU has provided € 3.3 billion for emergency support and for supporting the recovery. Additionally, the EU together with the Member States has delivered almost three million doses of vaccines already.
- The heads of state have called for a swift implementation of the Economic and Investment Plan and the new IPA III regulation.
- Other very practical measures were agreed to associate the region more closely to the EU, such as to lower roaming charges.
- The EU reaffirmed its support to strengthen regional cooperation. Recent concerning events have shown how deep the divisions run and how much work is needed to build good neighbourly relations.
Let me thank the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, for presenting the enlargement package yesterday at an extraordinary meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
During our discussion, we welcomed the restated commitment of the Western Balkans partners to the primacy of democracy, fundamental rights and values. EU support must continue to be linked to tangible progress on the rule of law and socioeconomic reforms, as well as to the adherence to our European values, rules and standards.
As we enter a critical juncture for the future of the EU and its enlargement, the EU and its Member States must clear the hurdles precluding us from switching gears in the accession process for countries that show a strong commitment to reforms.
Parliament will continue its scrutiny of the IPA III regulation and start now its work on the country reports. The AFET committee will follow the further developments in the Western Balkans very closely.