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Kolmapäev, 23. oktoober 2019 - Strasbourg Uuendatud versioon

19. Ühinemisläbirääkimiste alustamine Põhja-Makedoonia ja Albaaniaga (arutelu)
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  President. – The next item is the debate on the Council and Commission statements on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania (2019/2883(RSP)).

Just before I open the debate, I wish to let you know that if you want to request catch-the-eye and blue cards, it’s possible to use the standard registration and the new system, details of which are on your desk. You can register electronically, and therefore you need your voting cards, and indeed similarly with catch-the-eye, you can do so, not towards the end of the debate but perhaps at any time during the debate, please register.

 
  
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  Tytti Tuppurainen, President-in-Office of the Council. – Madam President, Members of Parliament, as you very well know, the progress of North Macedonia and Albania on their European path has been debated in the Council for quite some time. I know you are equally aware that the Council has not yet been able to reach an agreement on the Commission’s recommendations to open accession negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia and with Albania. In the meantime, both countries have worked hard to advance in their reforms.

The Council’s conclusions, adopted last June, tasked us to make clear and substantive decisions on both countries, at the latest in October. As the President of the General Affairs Council, I must say that I am deeply disappointed that we failed to do so in our meeting last week.

Despite all efforts, the European Council was not able to do this either. I must admit that this lack of unanimity on reaching these concrete decisions can be seen as a setback for the EU’s role in the Western Balkans and for our enlargement policy, which remains a strategic investment in peace, stability and development in Europe.

But it definitely does not mean that we will stop here. This just means that even more efforts are needed.

I think it’s important to stress that there are no differing views in the Council regarding our commitment to the European perspective of the Western Balkans. The importance of maintaining and even strengthening the EU’s engagement in the Western Balkans is shared by all Member States.

It is also clear for everyone in the EU that the region is in our courtyard and, we need to continue to do our best to help take further the necessary reform processes.

The European Council had a long debate on the issue last week, and in the end, the leaders agreed to revert to the issue of enlargement before the Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb in May 2020.

At the Council, we are ready to do our part. The Presidency remains committed to doing what it can in order to explore a path towards a clear and substantive outcome.

I would also like to reiterate how important it is that both North Macedonia and Albania continue to make concrete progress on reforms. Reforms are needed to progress in the EU approximation, but most importantly, these are reforms that the people of both of these countries call for. It is also worth repeating that committing to European values remains essential for all partners aspiring to gain EU membership.

Let me conclude by reiterating our deep appreciation for North Macedonia, for the courageous step it took with the signing of the historic Prespa Agreement and the change of the country’s name.

The Presidency also welcomes the political will to move forward, which has been demonstrated constantly by the Government in Albania, despite a polarised political atmosphere.

I am convinced that soon enough the time will come for these efforts to be rewarded. Thank you very much for your attention.

 
  
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  Johannes Hahn, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, last Thursday at the European Council, EU leaders failed to live up to their commitment to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. The overwhelming majority of Members States were ready to give the green light for opening negotiations. Regrettably, not all Member States were in a position to take a decision on the day.

May I use the opportunity here in the European Parliament to thank in particular Minister Tuppurainen for her personal determination and efforts to find a solution a few days before at the General Affairs Council, but as we know, it was not possible. But I would like, in the presence of the Members of the European Parliament, to thank you for all your efforts, together with your team.

The fact that it was not possible to get an agreement is indeed a matter of deep disappointment. Let me repeat what I said last week in Luxembourg after the first, so to say, failure: this is not a moment of glory for the European Union. We are now at an impasse.

Let us not forget that there is unanimity about one thing: the Western Balkans need many more courageous decisions such as Prespa.

Following our failure to deliver last week, we really have to think hard about how to answer the following questions: where are our incentives to catalyse more such breakthroughs? Where is our commitment and support to those who take the gravest political risks? The least we owe to the countries of the Western Balkans is honesty. The enlargement policy is enshrined in the Treaty, and it’s not about being nice with our neighbours; it’s about our rendezvous with history, completing the unification process that began long ago. And it’s, above all, in our geostrategic interests.

European Union Member States now need to clarify how serious their commitment is to the Western Balkans’ European Union integration. North Macedonia and Albania are not to blame for this situation. Both countries did what they were asked to do – and even more, and our reports on the countries acknowledge this. Impressive reforms have been achieved in Albania and North Macedonia in the rule of law area: judicial reform, fight against corruption and organised crime. The vetting process in Albania is a particular achievement. Moreover, the Prespa Agreement was a truly extraordinary achievement based on leadership, courage and determination to overcome obstacles of the past for the sake of a bright future. And the same applies for the good neighbourly agreement between North Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Our responsibility now is to stand with these countries, whose citizens are deeply disappointed. They have the right to feel short-changed but should not give up hope. Our commitment to the European Union perspective of the Western Balkans remains unchanged. Their European Union integration is, and remains, a strategic important policy goal, in our mutual interest. That’s why the European Union will revert to this issue before the European Union-Western Balkans Leaders’ Summit in Zagreb in May 2020.

I continue to hope for a positive outcome then. The Commission will continue to support Albania and North Macedonia in every way it can, to ensure that the EU reforms continue to be implemented, in the interest of their citizens, and to continue to help prepare them for their future in the European Union. I think now it’s time really to stand with the citizens of these countries and of the whole region and to support them. I can fully understand their disappointment and partly their discouragement, but again, we have to assist them to overcome the situation, and from the side of the Commission we will do everything to do this.

 
  
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  Andrey Kovatchev, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, the European People’s Party (PPE) is deeply disappointed with the inability of the Council to start negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. We have a common understanding that the Council’s decision sends a terrible geopolitical signal that is contrary to the interests of the European Union in the region. We cannot wait until the Zagreb Summit next year and we should try to repair this mistake as soon as possible. For sure this blockage will have political consequences, not only in the two countries but also in the whole region.

The EU is not consistent in its messages. The Bulgarian Presidency put back the topic of enlargement of the EU agenda, after a gap of 15 years after the Thessaloniki Summit. Our six Western Balkan partners are European countries and it is in our own interest to integrate them today rather than tomorrow. Other geopolitical players like Russia, Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia are keen to increase their influence in the absence of a vital European perspective. The EU must regain the trust of the citizens of this region as soon as possible. Furthermore, we must invest enough funds in effective communication tools to counter the propaganda against the European Union in the Western Balkans. And yes indeed, both countries need to deliver still in many political fields, for example, the implementation of the Good Neighbourly Relations Agreement between Sofia and Skopje is unsatisfactory.

Sometimes I wonder why it is only under pressure from outside that countries are willing to wake up from decades of manipulation and falsification of historical facts and events. This is similarly valid for other bilateral issues in the region, and indeed EU integration cannot depend only on the bravery of one person to solve all long-standing problems, and if the opposition come to power, to destroy it.

We would like to urge the three countries in the Council to lift their blockage and allow the start of the EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, which we know will continue for a long time and we need very soon to regain the trust of the young generation in the EU.

 
  
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  President. – Mr Kovatchev, will you accept a blue card?

Just a moment please. I’m being advised – and indeed it is true – that we normally don’t take blue cards during the first round of speakers so, in order to keep with tradition, I’m going to have to refuse your request for a blue card.

 
  
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  Kati Piri, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, let me also welcome Mr Xhaferi, the Speaker of the North Macedonian Parliament here in our House today.

I wish I could give a different speech today. North Macedonia and Albania have worked hard over the past years to meet all the conditionality criteria and to implement difficult and necessary reforms. Both countries kept their promise and fulfilled their share. It was now time for the EU to deliver and to open accession negotiations. North Macedonia has been a candidate for a total of 14 years and the Commission has given the green light for accession talks for the past 10 years.

The toughest negotiations, on its name, led to the historic Prespa Agreement and it took real political courage and real leadership, by both North Macedonia and Greece, to put an end to a 27-year dispute. As sad as it is to say, this is exactly what European leaders did not have – or perhaps, precisely, the French President did not have. Mr Macron did not show the same leadership and the same political courage. The EU had the opportunity to finally show responsibility and political maturity but we failed, miserably, and this failure damages the image of the European Union in the Western Balkans.

The EU often raises its voice on issues where, sadly, we are unable to make a difference. The European Council made us silent on the only political choice where we could have made a difference and I’m sorry to say it but the Zagreb Summit in May 2020 is too little and too late.

 
  
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  Ilhan Kyuchyuk, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, despite a huge majority of support by the Member States, for the third time in 16 months, the European Council failed to agree on whether to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

This is a very disappointing decision that could have the consequences of an historic mistake. We are not able to deliver on what we have promised several times already and this failure to move forward with the membership talks could undermine the EU’s credibility and destabilise the region. Moreover, following the setback, the Prime Minister of North Macedonia has called snap elections – a move that could lead to the EU losing one of its biggest allies in the region. Therefore, I urge the EU leaders to consider this decision as soon as possible. North Macedonia and Albania have continuously proved that they are part of the European family, especially during the migrant crisis, and they have fulfilled all conditions to start accession talks.

Countries need to be assessed on their own merit based on objective criteria. As a Member coming from a country that had to go through the accession negotiations not that long a time ago, I well know that the process is bureaucratic and based on legal provisions, but sometimes it’s also led by political sentiments.

If you want to revise the current format for accession negotiations, it has to be done in time for the May 2020 EU-Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb, otherwise we risk losing the European dream of the region and turning the Western Balkans into the grey zone of Europe.

 
  
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  Reinhard Bütikofer, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin! Ein berühmter Franzose hat einmal über eine bestimmte Art von politischen Entscheidungen gesagt: Das ist schlimmer als ein Verbrechen, das ist ein Fehler. Die Entscheidung des Rates, Nordmazedonien und Albanien die Aufnahme von Beitrittsverhandlungen zu verweigern, ist ein Fehler von historischer Dimension. Ich danke Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker, Herrn Hahn oder Frau Tuppurainen und all denen von Ihnen, werte Kolleginnen und Kollegen, die klare kritische Worte dazu gefunden haben.

Trotz allem Zorn darüber, wie die EU hier zum wiederholten Mal ihr Wort gebrochen hat, trotz aller Enttäuschung über die strategische Kurzsichtigkeit, trotz aller Scham gegenüber den Menschen in Nordmazedonien und Albanien, denen der Rat die Hoffnung zunichtemacht, will ich hier nicht kritisieren. Ich will nach vorne schauen und mich direkt an Präsident Macron wenden: Herr Präsident, Sie haben sich in dieser Frage sehr isoliert, aber das Europäische Parlament ist bereit, Ihnen eine Brücke zu bauen. Wenn Sie unsere Entschließung genau lesen, stellen Sie fest, dass wir willens sind, an der von Ihnen gewünschten Reform des Beitrittsprozesses mitzuwirken. Lassen Sie uns das gemeinsam tun, aber bitte korrigieren Sie umgehend den Fehler, dass Nordmazedonien und Albanien draußen vor der Tür bleiben müssen, nur weil wir zu Hause noch nicht vollständig aufgeräumt haben.

 
  
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  Anna Bonfrisco, a nome del gruppo ID. – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, certamente è forte l’interesse dell’Unione europea a espandere le relazioni con i paesi dei Balcani occidentali, ma siamo tutti consapevoli delle profonde cicatrici che segnano quest’area e che minacciano l’Unione europea: un’influenza cinese e russa; la presenza di grandi organizzazioni criminali e di potenziale terrorismo; politiche di stampo oligarchico; cittadini con doppio passaporto turco; più del 50 % di mussulmani in Albania e Bosnia, 28% in Nord Macedonia e il 95% in Kosovo.

Tutto questo rende evidente che lo strumento dell’allargamento e dell’adesione, come accaduto per la Turchia, versa in una profonda crisi. Forse, commissario Hahn, una buona politica commerciale europea ci eviterebbe l’impasse e il disaccordo fra Stati membri, per l’ennesima volta ognuno con una propria politica estera.

Un’Europa che ambisca a una propria autonomia strategica ha nella relazione con i Balcani occidentali il suo banco di prova. Cerchiamo questa volta di non deludere i cittadini europei e pensiamo soprattutto a loro.

 
  
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  Anna Fotyga, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Madam President, five years ago, Mr Juncker’s statement on accession and EU enlargement resulted in a real crisis in our relations with the Western Balkans. The Commissioner knows best how much effort is needed from him personally, his staff, ourselves, and the political leaders of the EU Member States, to reverse this negative process.

Both countries, Albania and North Macedonia, deserve negotiations. They have fully fulfilled all the criteria after many years of waiting. And now, at the very beginning of the next legislature, comes a slap from the Council.

I understand the same set of countries – President Macron of France, backed by the Netherlands and Denmark – pose probably the next crisis in our relationship with the Western Balkans. This crisis may be really dangerous so this decision should be reversed as soon as possible.

 
  
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  Stelios Kouloglou, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – Madam President, the Western Balkans is the most vulnerable place in Europe. It’s not by chance that the first war – the Yugoslavian war – after the end of the Second World War started there. We have to protect that part of our body – of the European body.

Recently, North Macedonia took a historic step. Together with the Greek Government, they made the historic Prespa Agreement, fighting against the populists and nationalists. And instead of rewarding Mr Zaev, the Prime Minister, giving him a hand, we are throwing him into political turmoil. People are frustrated in North Macedonia. And why do we do that? Because instead of exporting European ideas, democracy, solidarity, we’re exporting our internal political problems and conflicts.

There is a message to be addressed to Mr Macron – two messages. One: he should have been here to listen to almost all the parties. And the second is that we have to stop playing narrow-minded political games with small countries. Small countries need our help. They are small countries but they are decent countries.

 
  
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  Željana Zovko (PPE). – Poštovana predsjedavajuća, činjenica je da je upravo ova institucija pokrenula strategiju za Zapadni Balkan te snažno podržala i promovirala usklađivanje mjera Sjeverne Makedonije i Albanije s europskom pravnom stečevinom i objašnjava moje osobno veliko razočarenje, kao i razočarenje moje grupe zaključcima Vijeća od prošlog tjedna.

Nakon što su Sjeverna Makedonija i Albanija naporno radile na povijesnim kompromisima i nakon što su ispunile sve kriterije za otvaranje pregovora o pristupu, svi smo se nadali da će njihov veliki trud biti nagrađen pozitivnim signalima. No, umjesto toga ove su zemlje dobile hladan tuš i blokiranje pristupa.

Sjeverna Makedonija i Albanija su u procesu usklađivanja s praksama Europske unije često morale odbijati primamljiva obećanja stranih aktera. Stoga, odluka Vijeća ne samo da šalje negativnu poruku cijeloj regiji nego i otvara vrata drugim igračima da popune prostor koji je Unija ostavila netaknut.

Poštovana predsjedavajuća, ovom Rezolucijom naglašavamo da ova neodluka predstavlja stratešku pogrešku i da negativno utječe na kredibilitet Unije i podriva napore koje je Europski parlament uložio u odnose sa zemljama jugoistočne Europe i zahvaljujem povjereniku Hahnu na njegovu naporu.

Nadalje, nažalost svjedoci smo nedostatka vizije kod određenih članova Vijeća da budu hrabri i dovrše proces izgradnje mira kojeg mogu donijeti samo europske integracije, proces koji su započeli njihovi prethodnici, među kojima je i pokojni predsjednik Jacques Chirac, koga sam osobno poznavala, vizionar i častan čovjek, još prije 19 godina u Zagrebu.

Hrvatsko predsjedanje mora odigrati ključnu ulogu i pokazati Europskoj uniji da se ovdje radi o miru i stabilnosti Europske unije u budućnosti, što se odnosi najviše na Hrvatsku.

 
  
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  Tonino Picula (S&D). – Poštovana predsjedavajuća, izostanak pregovora sa Sjevernom Makedonijom i Albanijom povijesna je greška Europske unije i to treba naglašavati.

Još jednom je blokiran početak pregovora s ovim zemljama zbog unutarpolitičkih razloga i dilema malog broja članica. Pogotovo od strane onih koji, paradoksalno, žele obnoviti Europu.

Sjeverna Makedonija i Albanija ispunile su sve zahtjeve koje smo pred njih postavili. Nevjerojatno je kako Europska unija ne prepoznaje povijesnu vrijednost i političku hrabrost Skoplja da konačno otkloni kronične probleme sa susjedima, kao i brojne, prije svega pravosudne reforme Tirane.

Otvaranje pristupnih pregovora predstavlja tek početak procesa koji je svakim novim proširenjem postajao sve dulji i složeniji. Potpuno je neprihvatljivo da ove zemlje postaju taoci pokušaja reforme same Europske unije. Do sada su reforme i proširenje Europske unije bili paralelni procesi. Ne treba obnavljati konsenzus Europske unije o proširenju. Ono što je potrebno je jasna vizija pretočena u konkretnu akciju. I to prije nego što bude prekasno jer je mnogo aktera zainteresiranih da prošire svoje interese na ovom području, a ti interesi nisu kompatiblni s našim vrijednostima.

Obje zemlje zaslužuju pregovore o članstvu, a Europska unija se može obnoviti i postati globalno kredibilna samo ako to primjerom pokaže. Najprije u svom neposrednom susjedstvu, a onda i drugdje.

 
  
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  Stéphane Séjourné (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Ministre, je serai bref. Je suis pour l’élargissement. Je suis pour que ces deux pays puissent rentrer évidemment dans l’Union européenne. Mais comment pouvons-nous rajouter deux sièges, aujourd’hui, au Conseil, alors que nos mêmes modes institutionnels sont totalement bloqués?

Je crois dans cet hémicycle, mais je crois aussi que les institutions européennes ne sont pas éternelles et qu’il faut les protéger. À un moment donné, il faut se poser la question de l’efficacité des politiques européennes et de l’efficacité de nos décisions au Conseil avant de se poser la question d’un nouvel élargissement.

Alors, quand on est pro-européen – et j’appartiens à un groupe pro-européen –, et j’assume totalement cette position, je pense qu’on peut s’interroger sur la manière de réformer le Conseil et les modes de décision, avant de se poser la question de savoir comment on rajoute deux chaises autour de la table.

Voilà la position qui, à mon avis, est une position pragmatique et qui doit aussi préserver cette institution. Il faut penser à l’Europe dans dix ans, dans trente ans. Je crois en cette Europe et je ne souhaite pas que les peuples européens deviennent eurosceptiques par notre manque d’efficacité dans les politiques européennes.

 
  
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  Tineke Strik (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, the European Council was supposed to keep its promise to North Macedonia and Albania and thereby strengthen stability and peace in the Balkan region. Instead, it delivered a hard blow to the people in the Western Balkans.

The decision to start accession talks should be based on objective criteria, and the Commission is clear that the countries meet them. France, Denmark and the Netherlands, however, have acted unreliably by changing the rules in the middle of the game. As a result, arbitrary political considerations now affect the people in North Macedonian and Albania, who have pushed so hard for major reforms.

The decision is short-sighted, as it threatens stability and democracy in the whole region. The message that the Council – or should I say, Macron – sends is that it does not want them to meet the criteria, irrespective of their efforts.

But let us keep encouraging them and remind them that the EU institutions and most Member States are reaching out for the accession process. The Council should show that as well by reviewing the rejection as soon as possible.

 
  
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  Dominique Bilde (ID). – Madame la Présidente, que ne ferait-on pas pour les beaux yeux de pays où le salaire mensuel moyen tourne autour de 400 euros! Voici la seule explication à l'insistance de la Commission sur l'élargissement à l'Albanie et à la Macédoine du Nord. L'argument économique suffirait donc à occulter bien des insuffisances, et celles de l'Albanie sont nombreuses.

Infiltré par l'islam radical, ce pays majoritairement musulman fait partie de la région d'Europe dotée de la plus forte concentration de djihadistes. La mosquée de Namazgâh, financée par la Turquie pour devenir la plus grande des Balkans, témoigne, quant à elle, de l'emprise d'Erdogan. Le pays est, du reste, gangréné par les trafics en tous genres, Transparency International ayant d'ailleurs dégradé son indice de corruption. Pas plus que la Macédoine du Nord l'Albanie n'a donc vocation européenne.

Leur population y aspire-t-elle, d'ailleurs? En Macédoine, la participation ridiculement basse au référendum sur l'accord de Prespa et l'adhésion à l'Union européenne démontre que non. Ayons donc le courage de fermer définitivement le chapitre de l'élargissement et des milliards d'euros scandaleusement déversés au titre de l'aide à la préadhésion.

 
  
 

(Continuation of debate: see item 21)

 
Viimane päevakajastamine: 28. jaanuar 2020Õigusteave - Privaatsuspoliitika