The EU needs a new narrative for its enlargement policy
Brussels, 4 February 2020
Invited by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Europe in Brussels, Željana Zovko participated as main speaker, together with the Archbischop of Albania, Mgr. Fredo, at a roundtable discussion on Albania and its path towards EU accession. As EPP vice-coordinator in the Committee on Foreign Affairs and as member to the Working Group on the Western Balkans and the Working Group on External Financial Instruments, Zovko shared her experience and gave an overview of the latest developments from the EU’s perspective.
Zovko called Albania to keep working on its reforms and to keep its vision of a European future. At the other side, she also called for the EU to reflect on its actions in the Western Balkans. If Albania wants to enter the European Union, progress has to be made at both sides.
When focussing on the EU, Zovko mentioned the need for a new narrative. The Union should adopt a lessons learnt in order to prevent further redundant spending of ineffective programmes. Zovko looks forward to the revision of the enlargement methodology that will be presented Wednesday 5 February by Commissioner Varhelyi in the European Parliament. She also expressed her intention to improve the role of the European Parliament in the European Western Balkan policy thanks to her work as co-rapporteur for the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III).
Željana Zovko also strongly advocated the necessity to improve the EU’s diplomatic approach by focusing on interreligious dialogue. According to Zovko, it is crucial to include all levels of society into the process of European integration. „Although the big reforms have to be prepared and executed at political level, we also need to work on our relations with the citizens.“ Religious institutions have often a closer connection with the local population, thus a better understanding of the concerns. A clear example of the success of this interreligious approach was the reconciliation efforts by the reconstruction of three religious sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina: the catholic monastery in Plehan, the Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka and the Orthodox Church in Mostar.