Zovko: “Before investing in the Western Balkans, the EU should consider the lessons learned.”
Brussels, 26 May 2021
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament focused this week on the relations with the Western Balkans. Next to the vote on the report on the 2019-2020 Commission Reports on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the committee met behind closed doors to discuss the outcome of the Council meeting on Foreign Affairs of 10 May, where European ministers held a discussion on the region and reaffirmed the region’s European perspective.
Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Željana Zovko reacted before the meeting that the European Union needs to assess the developments in the Western Balkans over the last decades. She said that it has been thirty years since the breakup of former Yugoslavia. “The policy of the European Union in the early days was based on humanitarian assistance, equidistance among warring parties, and respect for international borders. After the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement, the EU refocused its policies on economic regeneration and Rebecca West style partisanship — pick one side based on political narrative and support it at all cost.” Zovko stated. She emphasized that, with exceptions of Slovenia and Croatia, which succeeded to extricate themselves from the region, the remaining countries are stuck with unresolved issues that caused the war. As co-rapporteur of the third generation of the Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance, a European financial fund assisting the Western Balkan countries and Turkey worth more than 14 billion euros of which the negotiations yet have to be concluded, Zovko stated “Before spending more money on what appear to be noble goals, building road and energy corridors, we should consider lessons learned.”