Westerns Balkans summit must bring step-change and strengthen democracy, 5 May 2020

The Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, delegation chairs and standing rapporteurs for the Western Balkans countries confirm EU´s commitment to continue transforming the region.

In a joint statement, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the standing rapporteurs and the chairs of delegations of the European Parliament for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia welcome the Western Balkans summit of 6 May as an opportunity to reconfirm the EU's historical, political and financial commitment to the region. They consider the summit to also be an opportunity for the Western Balkans participants to affirm their adherence to the rule of law, democracy and continued reforms.

"We welcome the virtual Western Balkans summit, which can deepen ties between the EU and Southeastern Europe.

It shows that any hurdle can be overcome in the commitment to the enlargement process and that fully-fledged EU membership is the ultimate goal. Such public expressions of solidarity are more important than ever, as disinformation campaigns attempt to create divisions.

During these difficult times, the European Parliament stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its Western Balkans partners and we reaffirm our unprecedented political, financial and medical assistance to the people of the region." (...)

The full text of the press release in the below link.

Kosovo: MEPs welcome lifting tariffs on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

This is a crucial step, which will lead to the resumption of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, MEPs hope.

Following the decision taken by Kosovo's government to completely lift taxes imposed on goods imported from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as of 1 April, the European Parliament's standing rapporteur for Kosovo, Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel (Greens/EFA, DE), and the Chair of the Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, Romeo Franz (Greens/EFA, DE), made the following statements.

Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel said: "We are very happy about the decision made by the Kosovo caretaker government to lift the 100 percent tariffs. This is a very important signal for political cooperation in the region and a crucial step, which we hope will lead to the resumption of the EU-facilitated dialogue, so that relations between Belgradeand Pristina can be normalised."

Romeo Franz said: "We count on the EU member states to fulfil their promise to grant visa liberalisation to Kosovar citizens as soon as possible, despite the current political crisis. This could be an important sign of solidarity, especially for the young people of Kosovo and for the country's commitment to its European future."

Read the full press release in the link below:

Interparliamentary delegations start establishing their bureaus, 26 September 2019

Delegations are electing their bureaus, each of them consisting of a Chair and two Vice-Chairs.

At the constitutive meetings on Thursday, 26 September, most of 44 interparliamentary delegations of the European Parliament decided on their Chairs and Vice-Chairs. Once the elections have taken place, the names of the new Bureaus' members will be published on the Delegations' website. (Check the respective homepage of each delegation.)

Interparliamentary delegations maintain relations and conduct policy dialogues with parliamentarians in other countries, regions and organisations to promote the EU's core values: liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.

There are 44 standing interparliamentary delegations in this legislative period, the same number as in the last parliamentary term. Most of them have the same structure: they have a Chair and two Vice-Chairs, except for delegations to parliamentary assemblies (such as ACP, Eurolat, Euromed and Euronest), which are led by larger bureaus. Parliament's diversity in terms of geography and gender must be reflected in the composition of the bureau of each delegation; it shall not be permissible to have an all-male or all-female bureau or for both of the vice-chairs to come from the same member state (Rule 223 and Rule 213).