Following their visit to Albania and Montenegro, MEPs on the Committee on Foreign Affairs urged the two countries to advance on EU-related reforms.
MEPs on the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) acknowledge that the foreign policy of Albania and Montenegro is closely aligned with that of the European Union and urged them to advance on EU-related reforms, prioritising constructive political dialogue, democratisation, rule of law, media freedom, and the fight against corruption and organised crime.
“Albania and Montenegro are valued members of the European family, with their rock-solid contribution to European security. We thank the two countries for their unwavering commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration and consistently strong foreign policy alignment, including on sanctions in the face of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine”, underline MEPs.
From 23 May to 26 May, MEPs met civil society and policy-makers in both countries and scrutinised the EU funding under the Instrument on the Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).
In Albania, MEPs met teachers and students at the “Sherif Dervishi” school, reconstructed under the EU4schools programme, discussed efforts to conserve biodiversity of the Lake Shkodra (Skadar) and visited the “Hani i Hotit” Albania-Montenegro border crossing point, modernised with EU assistance.
Following the visit, the AFET delegation, led by AFET Chair David McAllister (EPP, DE), underlined that Albania and Montenegro continue delivering substantial reforms under challenging circumstances. The EP delegation calls on both countries to focus on strengthening ongoing judicial, rule of law, electoral and other reforms for the benefit of their citizens. Constructive political dialogue, respecting democratic political norms, and anti-corruption efforts are essential for advancing towards EU membership, MEPs say, condemning the instances of divisive rhetoric, hate speech and political interference in the judiciary and media.
“While Albania and Montenegro have demonstrated their determination to implement EU-related reforms, national unity, constructive engagement between the governments and opposition under a due parliamentary process, competitive elections and meaningful public consultations are needed to advance on EU integration”, said AFET Chair Mr McAllister. MEPs reiterated that they firmly support accession talks with Albania, along with North Macedonia being opened imminently, called for reinforced diplomatic efforts to unblock the process, and encouraged Montenegro to seize the opportunity to advance on meeting the interim rule of law benchmarks.
The Members of the delegation were the following: David McALLISTER (EPP, Germany), Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Head of the delegation; Željana ZOVKO (EPP, Croatia), Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; Hildegard BENTELE (EPP, Germany); Thomas WAITZ (Greens/EFA, Austria); Angel DZHAMBAZKI (ECR, Bulgaria).
The new set of recommendations on Albania was adopted by a big majority in a European Parliament resolution on Thursday last week. A draft resolution on Montenegro confirmed by AFET is set to be put to the vote in the 22-23 June plenary sitting. The EU provides technical and financial support to facilitate green and digital transformation and regional connectivity under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and Economic and Investment Plan for Western Balkans.