Brussels, 23 November 2022
Today, the European Parliament adopted the report drafted by S&D MEP, Tonino Picula, on the New Strategy for Enlargement. It stresses that if the EU wants to be a geopolitical player, it must remain an open project, and also proposes a clear deadline: accession negotiations should be concluded by the end of 2030.
For the Socialists and Democrats, enlargement is one of the most successful EU policies, but it must be re-energised in order for the EU to retain its geostrategic relevance and credibility. It must also be properly conducted, drawing lessons from the previous accessions, and put the rule of law and democratic reforms at the heart of the process.
The report also states that the alignment with the EU’s common foreign policy is a condition to remain on the European path. This means that accession negotiations with Serbia can only advance if the country aligns with EU sanctions against Russia! Otherwise, the EU should also reconsider EU funds for the Serbian regime.
Among the main conclusions of the report:
- No alternatives to substitute EU enlargement
- Clear deadlines: accession negotiations should be concluded by the end of 2030
- Qualified majority voting in areas relevant to the accession process, except final decision, to improve decision-making so we avoid bilateral disputes as a blocking tool
- EU funding and its tangible results must be more visible in enlargement countries
- Rewarding candidate countries when they make sustainable progress, including by phasing them into the EU single market, and reacting on regression or a persistent lack of progress in real-time.
- Chief negotiator from the EU side for each country; This could benefit the transparency of the process, primarily when we communicate with the citizens of candidate countries.
Tonino Picula, S&D MEP and spokesperson on foreign affairs and European Parliament rapporteur on the New Enlargement Strategy said:
“Seeing the EU flag raised at the parliament of Ukraine, after being granted candidate status, was a powerful moment. It reminded us how important membership of our family is to those who seek to join us.
“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and European values reminded us of the meaning and value of EU membership, giving greater impetus to the enlargement policy. It’s a pity that it took a brutal war to remind us of this. Enlargement must once again become an EU geopolitically strategic policy! And we have to truly recommit towards the Western Balkans. Further delay in the EU enlargement process will make the region more vulnerable.
“I strongly believe the enlargement process can encourage much-awaited EU reforms. We have to improve decision-making. We cannot lose time once again, like in the case of North Macedonia and Albania.
“But as much as the S&Ds want the EU to accelerate the enlargement process, it’s clear that its success also depends on countries aspiring to join our EU family. They must make clear pro-European choices. EU membership means more than just EU funds and transport corridors. Before anything, it represents a set of values and principles to share and respect.”
Source – S&D Group Press – Email