Ahead of the plenary session in Strasbourg, Zovko calls for greater support for the Western Balkans
Brussels, 10 February 2023
Members of the European Parliament will take part next week in the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. In one of the key debates, members will discuss the Russian aggression against Ukraine, that started almost a year ago. Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Željana Zovko encouraged the EU’s continued support to Ukraine in its fight for freedom and territorial sovereignty. Yesterday, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a historic address to the European Parliament before he attended the European Council in Brussels. Following up on the previous debate, members will also exchange views with Egīls Levits, President of Latvia, on Russia’s war against Ukraine and potential future European support.
On Tuesday, members will debate options for a strengthened EU enlargement policy to the Western Balkans with Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Olivér Várhelyi. Ahead of the debate, Zovko, called for greater European support and presence in the region in order to counter anti-European third country influences. “After having granted Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status, we have created a momentum for progress. Together with the EU, the Western Balkan countries should step up the reform process and establish stronger European alignment. The EU should develop a stronger visibility on the ground and invest in concrete projects that showcase the benefits of European cooperation. In these difficult time it is important not to leave a vacuum that third actors can exploit” warned Zovko and added as rapporteur for the upcoming report on preventive diplomacy that with stronger European diplomatic presence future escalations can be prevented.
Furthermore, Zovko called on the new government in Bosnia and Herzegovina to work towards ensuring legitimate representation of all constituent peoples and others is its institutions, including in the country’s Presidency. “I welcome the fastest formation of the Council of Ministers in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s history. I expect the new government to live up to the expectations of the EU Member States after having received the candidate status and to find a common language in order to implement all the necessary reforms for its European future, especially the reform of the electoral law by respecting the judgments of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and international courts.” Zovko stated.
Other debates in next week’s plenary week will focus on the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, the situation in Tunisia, tensions between Rwanda and DR Congo and health condition of former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. Members will also vote on new CO2 emission standards for cars, a new EU strategy for on critical raw materials, energy measures to be included in national recovery plans and resolutions on human rights and democracy.