Zovko: Parliament recognises that integration of Western Balkans is a security matter for EU

Strasbourg, 10 June 2022


The European Parliament adopted a report that updates its position on the EU’s Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy with a new set of recommendations after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The text incorporates a new strategic perspective on the changed and unprecedented security challenges for the European Union and proposes key measures based on which the EU can strengthen partnerships with like-minded countries, advocate an international rule-based order and further develop its strategic sovereignty and defence capacity.

Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Željana Zovko, welcomed the adoption of this timely report stating that the European Parliament reacted swiftly to update its position on the changed security situation in Europe. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a threat to the security of the whole continent and to the lasting peace since the start of the European project. The EU should be able to defend the values and principles it stands for including the principle of territorial integrity, national sovereignty. By my amendments, the adopted text refers to the Strategic Compass that acknowledges that security and stability throughout the Western Balkans is still not a given and that there is a risk of potential spill over from the current deterioration of the European security situation.” Zovko stated.

According to Zovko, the EU has to re-assess its security and defence policy and this recommendation by the European Parliament is a constructive contribution to this process. “On several occasions, I have stated that the stability of the EU and of the Western Balkans are intertwined. The Parliament has included my proposal in the adopted text to recognise that the European integration of the Western Balkans is essential for long-term stability and security of the European Union and calls for greater political and economic assistance to the region,” Zovko said.

During the plenary debate ahead of the vote on the report, Zovko repeated her call to invest more in preventive and assertive diplomacy. She describes it as the most effective tool for security and safety of the EU and regrets that it is still lacking today. Zovko referred to the example of Bosnia and Herzegovina “25 years after the Dayton Paris Peace Agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina is still a half-sovereign country, without European preventive diplomacy. This policy lack also affects other frozen conflicts.” Zovko concluded.


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