Zovko calls for the EU to guide the Western Balkans towards the accession they deserve.
Strasbourg, 17 January
The European Parliament adopted two reports about the European Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). With these policies the European Union aims to preserve peace, to strengthen international security and promote international cooperation, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Željana Zovko, vice-coordinator of the Committee on Foreign Affairs for the EPP Group, contributed to these reports by strengthening the focus on the European perspective for the Western Balkans.
During the plenary debate, Zovko stated that in both reports the European Parliament clearly recognizes and explicitely underlines that no European country is able by itself to address the foreign policy and security challenges we are facing.
“With the aspirations of our new ‘geopolitical’ Commission to improve the European Union’s external policy and our position and impact on a global level, this debate on the two reports is a great opportunity for us to reflect upon the Parliament’s view on the common foreign, security and defence policies.”
In her speech, Zovko reiterated that it is a key issue for the EU to work on its relations with the Western Balkans. “Apart from the overall Common Foreign and Security Policy objectives, we should guide these countries towards the accession they deserve.”
She also welcomed the EU’s renewed support for the Security and Defence missions such as Operation EUFOR Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “This is the first mission that works well on our continent, plays a pivotal role for the security and stability of the EU and the European Continent as a whole.”
Another crucial challenge is the active involvement of the European Parliament in the external financial instruments. Zovko, co-rapporteur for the Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III), emphasized the need for an improved oversight and increased role during the scrutiny and steering of the programme.
“The Western Balkan region belongs in the European Union, and it is about time that all institutions embrace that fact and work towards this goal.”