Progress of fYROM, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2013
EU leaders must show more commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina, set a date for starting EU accession talks with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and continue the talks with Montenegro, provided reforms are sustained, said MEPs in resolutions passed on Thursday.
More commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina needed
MEPs are deeply concerned about the continuing lack of vision of the political leaders of the country's three ethnic communities. They stress that constitutional reform, which should simplify the complex and inefficient institutional architecture deriving from Dayton Agreement, remains vital to make the country an effective and fully functioning state. They ask EU leaders to show more interest and personal commitment to this country.
“To achieve any progress on its path towards the EU, the political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina need to find a way to cooperate and to progress on the reform path. Another crucial factor for the country’s European future is to amend the constitution to adopt the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Sejdic-Finci on discrimination of minorities," said the rapporteur, Doris Pack (EPP, DE).
Start date for accession talks with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
MEPs again call on the Council to set a date for the start of EU accession talks with Skopje, stressing that further delay could pose risks to regional stability.They say bilateral issues should be addressed, preferably before talks begin, and call for more concrete results in relations between Athens, Sofia and Skopje. (10) MEPs say that safeguarding freedom of expression is a vital challenge for the country and Skopje must guarantee media freedom.
Richard Howitt (S&D, UK), the rapporteur for the country, said: "My appeal to Athens is to use the EU presidency to find a way of making progress with Skopje to end the stalemate. I hope that by calling on the European Commission to award the country 'functioning market economy status' my report will make a difference where a difference is urgently needed.
Swift progress with accession talks with Montenegro needed
MEPs want accession talks with Podgorica to make swift progress, provided that reforms are sustained. However, they are gravely concerned about intimidation, attacks and threats against journalists and call for more efforts to combat corruption and organised crime. Public confidence in the electoral system and democratic structures must be improved, they say.
Charles Tannock (ECR, UK), the rapporteur for Montenegro, said: "I consider the large majority in favour of my Montenegro progress report as a vote of confidence in this country. While key challenges certainly remain, we must continue working with our Montenegrin partners to ensure that the country sustains its impressive level of progress and implements the reforms necessary for the EU integration it deserves."
The resolution on Bosnia and Herzegovina was adopted by 468 votes to 80, with 35 abstentions.
The resolution on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was adopted by 486 votes to 55, with 29 abstentions.
The resolution on Montenegro was adopted by 474 votes to 42, with 34 abstentions.