Zovko: The adoption of IPA III next week is key for the future of the Western Balkans
Brussels, 10 September 2021
Next week, Members of the European Parliament will take part in a plenary session in Strasbourg. Following an agreement reached with the Council in June, MEPs will discuss and adopt the new generation of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III), which supports the accession process and the implementation of reforms in the candidate and potential candidate countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The new instrument, worth over 14 billion euros, is the EU’s most important financial tool to support the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries. As co-rapporteur for the instrument, MEP Željana Zovko negotiated the new regulation on behalf of the European Parliament with the Commission and the Council. She managed to include an enhanced role for the European Parliament in the pre-programming of the funds and an increased visibility and conditionality of the enlargement policy. After the plenary debate and the adoption of the regulation, Zovko will take part in the signing ceremony of the Council and the European Parliament.
The September plenary session is traditionally marked by the annual speech of the President of the Commission on the state of the European Union. On Wednesday, Ursula von der Leyen will present the results of the Commission’s work over the past year, marked by efforts to mitigate the consequences of the health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the debate, the European Parliament will evaluate the Commission’s work and present its views and ideas on how to respond to the many challenges the Union is facing, such as economic recovery, foreign policy challenges, combating climate change, digitalisation and the state of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
Members will discuss a number of foreign policy issues with High Representative Josep Borrel. During the debate on the humanitarian and security situation in Afghanistan they will focus on how to respond to the current situation and how the future EU-Afghanistan relations should look like. Following the events in Kabul, Zovko, as Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), called for a stronger European Strategic Autonomy by strengthening EU’s defense capabilities and developing a proactive foreign policy. In addition, members will discuss and vote on two laws to strengthen the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and to better address cross-border health threats, as well as the EU’s response to recent natural disasters in light of recent floods and wildfires around Europe.