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Supporting a European perspective for the Western Balkans

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 15374 | 21 September 2021

Mr Piero FASSINO, Italy, SOC ; Ms Petra BAYR, Austria, SOC ; Mr Fourat BEN CHIKHA, Belgium, SOC ; Ms Marina BERLINGHIERI, Italy, SOC ; Ms Arta BILALLI ZENDELI, North Macedonia, SOC ; Ms Margreet De BOER, Netherlands, SOC ; Ms Maria Elena BOSCHI, Italy, SOC ; Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Latvia, SOC ; Ms Alma ČOLO, Bosnia and Herzegovina, EPP/CD ; Mr Titus CORLĂŢEAN, Romania, SOC ; Mr Andi-Lucian CRISTEA, Romania, SOC ; Mr Fabio DI MICCO, Italy, NR ; Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU, Cyprus, SOC ; Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Marta GRANDE, Italy, NR ; Mr Domagoj HAJDUKOVIĆ, Croatia, SOC ; Mr Josip JURATOVIC, Germany, SOC ; Ms Marietta KARAMANLI, France, SOC ; Ms Bisera KOSTADINOVSKA-STOJCHEVSKA, North Macedonia, SOC ; Ms Elvira KOVÁCS, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Ms Stephanie KRISPER, Austria, ALDE ; Mr Luís LEITE RAMOS, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr Reinhold LOPATKA, Austria, EPP/CD ; Mr Saša MAGAZINOVIĆ, Bosnia and Herzegovina, SOC ; Mr Gianni MARILOTTI, Italy, SOC ; Mr Oleksandr MEREZHKO, Ukraine, SOC ; Mr Simon MOUTQUIN, Belgium, SOC ; Mr Žarko OBRADOVIĆ, Serbia, SOC ; Mr Frédéric PETIT, France, ALDE ; Mr Christian PETRY, Germany, SOC ; Ms Catia POLIDORI, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Roberto RAMPI, Italy, SOC ; Ms Maria RIZZOTTI, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Mr Predrag SEKULIĆ, Montenegro, SOC ; Mr Filippo SENSI, Italy, SOC ; Ms Liliana TANGUY, France, ALDE

Twenty-six years have passed since the Dayton Agreement and 18 years since the Thessaloniki European Council, which launched the European Union’s integration agenda for the Western Balkans. This lapse of time is too long and has aroused frustration and disappointment in the region, igniting ethnocentric impulses and nationalistic nostalgia, tarnishing the credibility of the EU amongst public and opening the way to the influence of other geopolitical actors.

It is time for the EU to accelerate the integration process of the Western Balkans by relaunching the negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro; establishing them with Albania and North Macedonia; granting the status of candidate country to Bosnia and Herzegovina; and liberalising EU entry visas for Kosovars.

Supporting democratic reforms, reconciliation and good neighbourly relations in the Western Balkans is of extraordinary importance for peace, security and democratic stability throughout Europe. Greater support should be given to the ongoing efforts to consolidate democratic institutions, strengthen the rule of law, tackle corruption, develop a stronger and inclusive democratic culture and bring public administration in line with European standards, promote women’s active participation in political life and political decision-making, protect national minorities and prevent radicalisation and violent extremism. The Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly, as well as the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), can offer a valuable contribution to accompany this reform process.

The Assembly should:

  • contribute to creating political momentum in support of a clear European perspective for the Western Balkans;
  • formulate recommendations to the authorities concerned;
  • identify areas in which the Council of Europe, with its expertise and mechanisms, should play a more significant role, thus helping the region to move forward towards reforms and successfully pursue its European vocation.