European Interest

Sassoli: Accession process needs a new and strong impetus

flickr/Faces Of The World/CC BY 2.0

Extracts from the European Parliament President’s letter to Council President Michel on the EU-Western Balkans summit in Slovenia

In a letter to Council President Charles Michel on the EU-Western Balkans summit that takes place in Slovenia today, European Parliament President David Sassoli urges leaders to overcome the current stalemate and move forward with the accession process.              “This year’s EU-Western Balkans summit could not be more timely. Today, more than ever, the accession process of the countries of the Western Balkans needs a new and strong impetus. It is high time for delays and current blockages to be overcome.                        “The European Parliament stands ready to work, within the framework of Team Europe, to give new momentum to the EU’s enlargement to the Western Balkans. A truly geopolitical Europe can only begin at our borders, with our closest friends, with whom culturally and historically we share the same European identity. Having a peaceful, stable and prosperous continent would immensely benefit all European citizens. This new impetus can only have a positive effect in the region and could contribute to its democratic transformation and to good neighbourly relations. We should therefore stand ready to engage in the accession process with each one of the countries of the Western Balkans, depending on their progress and ambition. Any further delay or hesitation risks encouraging others who wish to gain influence in the region.                                                                                                “The enlargement process needs to continue to be based on the fulfillment of the accession criteria. The countries of the Western Balkans should carry reforms through to completion, recognising that dialogue and consensus building, as well as freedom of the press and freedom of expression are crucial in any democracy. Regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations are equally important. The fundamental values and principles that underpin the European Union must remain the light that guides the way for each country on the path towards accession.”

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