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Wednesday, 22 November 2023 - Strasbourg Revised edition

15. 30 years of Copenhagen criteria - giving further impetus to EU enlargement policy (debate)
Video of the speeches
Minutes
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  President. – The next item is the debate on Council and Commission statements on 30 years of Copenhagen criteria – giving further impetus to EU enlargement policy (2023/2987(RSP)).

 
  
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  Ángeles Moreno Bau, presidenta en ejercicio del Consejo. – Señor presidente, señorías, señora comisaria, nos hemos reunido aquí para reflexionar sobre los treinta años de los criterios de Copenhague, es decir, las condiciones fundamentales que todos los países candidatos deben cumplir para convertirse en Estados miembros.

Ante todo, deseo destacar que la ampliación ha sido un éxito rotundo para la Unión Europea. Ha contribuido a unir nuestro continente, superar divisiones históricas y crear una Unión más fuerte. Al estar inspirada en los criterios de Copenhague, ha generado reformas transformadoras y consolidado nuestros valores comunes y los principios de la democracia, los derechos fundamentales y el Estado de Derecho.

La ampliación también ha reforzado la influencia de la Unión Europea en el mundo, lo que nos ha permitido desempeñar un papel más importante a escala mundial. La guerra de agresión de Rusia contra Ucrania nos ha recordado que la política de ampliación de la UE es, al mismo tiempo, una inversión geoestratégica en los ámbitos de la paz, la seguridad, la estabilidad y la prosperidad.

El año pasado, el Consejo Europeo adoptó decisiones históricas para confirmar la perspectiva europea de Ucrania, Moldavia y Georgia. Reitera también el compromiso pleno e inequívoco con la perspectiva de integración en la UE de los Balcanes Occidentales.

La ampliación es una de las prioridades del Consejo y seguiremos haciendo todo lo que esté en nuestras manos para avanzar en el proceso de adhesión de los candidatos, de plena conformidad con los criterios de Copenhague.

En este contexto deseo recordar que el proceso de adhesión es un proceso condicional basado en el mérito. Los requisitos generales siguen siendo los mismos para todos los candidatos: es preciso cumplir criterios políticos, económicos y administrativos para poder hacerse cargo de las obligaciones que conlleva la pertenencia a la Unión Europea. Básicamente, en lo que respecta a los criterios de Copenhague los candidatos tienen que estar preparados. El consenso renovado de 2006 sobre la ampliación reafirma la necesidad de una condicionalidad justa y rigurosa, combinada con el principio de mérito propio, teniendo en cuenta también la capacidad de la Unión Europea para admitir a nuevos miembros. Recientemente, en la declaración acordada por los dirigentes de la UE en la Cumbre de Granada, celebrada el 6 de octubre en España, se ha establecido una senda clara en este sentido.

Volviendo a los trabajos en curso del Consejo sobre la ampliación, deseo destacar que la Presidencia acoge con satisfacción el paquete de ampliación de este año. Se trata de un tipo de paquete jamás visto hasta ahora, que abarca diez socios.

Por su parte, la Comisión ha hecho cuatro importantes recomendaciones clave. Como ya saben, la Comisión recomienda iniciar negociaciones de adhesión con Ucrania y Moldavia. Además, recomienda que el Consejo adopte los marcos de negociación necesarios para ambos candidatos, una vez que estos países hayan adoptado determinadas medidas fundamentales. En cuanto a Georgia, la Comisión recomienda que se le otorgue el estatuto de país candidato siempre y cuando se sigan una serie de pasos. En relación con Bosnia y Herzegovina, la Comisión recomienda iniciar negociaciones de adhesión una vez que el país alcance el nivel requerido de cumplimiento de los criterios de adhesión. Actualmente, el Consejo está estudiando el paquete, incluidos los informes y estas recomendaciones.

La Presidencia se ha propuesto como objetivo claro que el 12 de diciembre el Consejo de Asuntos Generales adopte unánimemente las conclusiones del Consejo sobre ampliación, lo cual nos alegrará enormemente. Luego, en la siguiente reunión del Consejo Europeo, los dirigentes de la Unión Europea tendrán que tomar una decisión sobre las recomendaciones de la Comisión.

 
  
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  Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, honourable Members, 30 years ago the Copenhagen Criteria were established by the Copenhagen European Council in 1993 and strengthened by the Madrid European Council in 1995. They set clear benchmarks on the basis of which aspiring European Member States’ accession paths could be assessed. The Copenhagen criteria are the following: First, stability and institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for, and protection of, minorities. Second, a functioning market economy and the ability to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the European Union. And third, the ability to take on the obligations of membership, including the capacity to effectively implement the rules, standards and policies that make up the body of European law, the acquis, and adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union. The criteria must be met for accession. They constitute a central element of our enlargement policy and remain a key pillar of our policy. Our yearly enlargement reports analyse the stability of institutions, the rule of law, known as the fundamentals of all aspiring European Union Member States. The functioning market economy and ability to cope with competitiveness are core to the economic chapters. We examine the alignment with the European acquis in our annual enlargement package, and in more detail during the screening process and when opening chapters during accession negotiations.

Two weeks ago, as all of you know, we adopted a big enlargement package. Then country reports for the first time and the growth plan for the Western Balkans. The Commission recommended that the Council open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. The Commission recommended the opening of accession negotiations with Bosnia Herzegovina. Once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is achieved, latest by March of next year. Further, we recommended to grant candidate status to Georgia on the understanding that certain steps are taken.

A functioning market economy and the ability to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the European Union are equally important as democratic institutions. This is why we are boosting investment and economic growth even before accession. The aim of the growth plan is to boost the economy of the Western Balkans in the next years, in order to close the socio-economic gap between the Union and our partners by the end of this decade. The offer provided by the Growth Plan is therefore a unique opportunity for the Western Balkans to speed up their economic growth and convergence with the European Union, as well as through targeted reforms accelerating the path towards European Union membership. Therefore, the Growth Plan is creating the possibility of early integration of the region into the European Union even before they join our Union. This House has a key role in making it happen. The financial pillar of the growth plan, the EUR 6 billion growth facility, needs to be adopted during the mandate of this Parliament, as we have no time to waste.

Honourable Members, the Copenhagen Criteria have stood the test of time. They capture the essence of what a candidate country needs to do in order to prepare its political, economic and legal system for European membership. But most importantly, they are an expression of the foundation and values on which the European Union is built. The existence of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for, and protection of, minorities, the existence of functioning market economies, and the ability to take on the obligations of membership. We must continue building our joint future based on these criteria.

 
  
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  Michael Gahler, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, liebe Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! 30 Jahre Kopenhagener Kriterien – ich denke, das waren damals richtige Kriterien im politischen und im wirtschaftlichen Bereich, und sie sind es bis heute geblieben.

Damals haben sie dafür gesorgt, dass die Kandidatenländer präzise einen Rahmen vorgegeben bekamen, an dem sie sich orientieren konnten. Das ist vielleicht auch der Unterschied zu den Ländern, die bisher in der Östlichen Partnerschaft waren. Die hatten diesen präzisen Rahmen nicht, da war diese Beitrittsperspektive noch nicht drin. Und die Folge war unter anderem, dass eben in Ländern wie der Ukraine, ich sage mal, der Wilde Osten – also in Anspielung auf den Wilden Westen – weiterhin zugange war und auf diese Art und Weise Oligarchen Strukturen aufgebaut haben, eben weil sie dachten, sie könnten weiterhin so agieren, wie sie es bis vor Kurzem auch in der Ukraine veranstaltet haben.

Diejenigen, die im mitteleuropäischen Bereich – ja, in der Wendezeit – auch sich das eine oder andere aneignen konnten, haben relativ früh dann mit diesen Kriterien verstanden: Aha, jetzt geht es Richtung Rechtsstaat, jetzt müssen wir uns an den Rahmen halten, der vorgegeben ist, und haben insofern aus meiner Sicht den Rechtsstaat viel früher umarmt und auf die Art dann auch dazu beigetragen, dass wirtschaftlich, aber auch politisch hier ein Rahmen gesetzt wurde in den Beitrittskandidatenländern, der dann kompatibel sein sollte mit der Europäischen Union.

Ich bin zuversichtlich: Wenn wir diese Kriterien im politischen und im wirtschaftlichen Bereich auch mit den neuen Beitrittskandidaten – auch im westlichen Balkan – konsequent anwenden und umsetzen, ist das die Voraussetzung dafür, dass wir Mitglieder bekommen werden in der Zukunft, die auf diese Art und Weise auch eine Stärkung der Europäischen Union darstellen, aber auf der anderen Seite auch natürlich für sich selbst eine Stärkung erfahren.

Die Mitgliedschaft in der Europäischen Union ist für alle, die inzwischen dazugehören, eine Win-Win-Situation, auch dank der Kopenhagener Kriterien.

 
  
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  Tonino Picula, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, Madam Commissioner, Copenhagen Criteria were a remarkable set of rules and political commitments that set the tone and prepared the European Union for accepting 10 new Member States for following years. The list of priorities was political, economic and then administrative criteria as the last step. Already then, special importance was given to the European Union’s absorption capacity. Thirty years later, we have not done much to increase our absorption capacity. We did not fully deliver on our commitments, but nor did the candidate countries deliver on the needed reforms. We keep prioritising economic agenda, thus maintaining so-called stableocracy. This is most evident in the case of Serbia. We have to bring back to the centre clear political criteria guaranteeing democracy and the rule of law.

In December, the Council has a historic opportunity to deliver on its commitments to Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and especially to Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s an opportunity that we cannot miss.

 
  
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  Dacian Cioloş, în numele grupului Renew. – Domnule președinte, cred că nu există o mai bună ocazie de a celebra 30 de ani de la definirea criteriilor de la Copenhaga decât cu o decizie clară a Consiliului de a începe negocierile de aderare la UE cu Moldova și Ucraina, cu o perspectivă clară pentru Balcanii de Vest. Este un moment oportun și pentru a pune pe masă o nouă viziune privind politica europeană de extindere, în față cu realitățile actuale, cu provocările geopolitice de azi. Pentru că, după cum am văzut, după fiecare val de extindere, în ciuda îngrijorărilor inițiale, acesta s-a dovedit a fi un succes și Uniunea a ieșit mai întărită.

Acum putem privi cu maturitate o nouă extindere, să gândim viitorul Uniunii într-o dimensiune lărgită, dar și cu un rol și o responsabilitate redefinite în această regiune. Aș spune și cu mai mult curaj. Nu ne putem permite ca interesele înguste ale unor guverne care atacă constant valorile Uniunii să pună la îndoială parcursul european al Moldovei și Ucrainei sau să fie luate ostatice, Moldova și Ucraina, într-o decizie în Consiliu, pentru că un prim-ministru are un interes particular.

Uniunea Europeană mai poate arăta încă o dată că obiectivul principal pentru care a fost făcută pacea și prosperitatea în interiorul granițelor sale poate fi atins, de data aceasta, într-un spațiu mai larg, dar și mai aprofundat și pentru mai mulți cetățeni.

 
  
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  Thomas Waitz, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin! Manche von uns hier im Haus unterstützen beitrittswillige Länder schon seit vielen Jahren. Seit der illegalen Invasion Russlands in die Ukraine sind es mehr geworden, weil viele hier im Haus verstanden haben, dass es hier nicht nur um wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und kulturelle Zusammenarbeit geht, sondern auch um handfeste geostrategische Interessen. Gerade was den Balkan anbelangt, realisieren viele, dass das nicht eine Region ist, die irgendwo am Rande Europas ist, sondern in der Mitte unserer Europäischen Union, und dass gerade in diesem Land sehr viele Einflussfaktoren von außerhalb stattfinden.

Jetzt haben wir einige Schritte gemacht, um dem Beitritt dieser Länder Vorschub zu leisten, um endlich unser Engagement als Europäische Union ernsthaft in die Debatte einzubringen und die Länder zu unterstützen. Ich unterstütze das, und ich freue mich darauf, alle Länder des Westbalkans früher oder später in der Europäischen Union willkommen zu heißen.

Wir müssen aber selbst unsere Kriterien – nämlich die Kopenhagener Kriterien – ernst nehmen, wenn wir in Beitrittsgespräche gehen, wenn wir in Beitrittsverhandlungen gehen. Wir müssen ehrlich hinsehen und nicht so tun, als wären da keine Probleme, als wären nicht Gesetze erlassen worden in der Republika Srpska, die es z. B. zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen verunmöglichen, ihre Arbeit zu machen, die es Journalisten verunmöglichen, offen ihre Meinung zu sagen.

Wir dürfen nicht verheimlichen, dass in Serbien zwar Gesetze erlassen worden sind, aber die Umsetzung dieser Gesetze im Detail dort, wo es für die Menschen spürbar wird, leider oft nicht so stattfindet, wie wir das gerne wollen. Wir müssen anerkennen, dass es in manchen Bereichen noch gravierende Probleme mit der Rechtsstaatlichkeit gibt, obwohl Reformen durchgeführt werden. Montenegro, Albanien sind noch nicht dort, wo wir hinmüssen. Und es hilft uns nicht, wenn wir uns selbst in die Tasche lügen oder die Kommission sich mit uns gemeinsam in die Tasche lügt und sagt „Ja, guter Fortschritt hier, guter Fortschritt da“.

Wir müssen dafür Sorge tragen, dass die wesentlichen Kriterien, die wesentlichen Grundwerte – Meinungsfreiheit, Demokratie, Rechtsstaatlichkeit, eben die Kopenhagener Kriterien – ernsthaft und seriös eingehalten werden. Das muss die Basis unserer Beitrittsgespräche sein und bleiben.

 
  
  

VORSITZ: RAINER WIELAND
Vizepräsident

 
  
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  Ангел Джамбазки, от името на групата ECR. – Г-н Председател, копенхагенските критерии са нещо много хубаво, само че не се спазват. Не се спазват и не се прилагат така, както трябва да се прилагат. Това би трябвало да означава, че общностите, които могат и искат да се самоопределят по определен начин, би трябвало да могат да го правят. Особено държавите, които искат да бъдат кандидати за членове в Европейския съюз.

Такава една държава е, простете за повторението, Северна Македония. Там се отрича правото на национално самоопределение. То е потискано и то е отнемано и отказвано на тези хора, които са с македонско гражданство, но с българско национално самосъзнание. И всички колеги, които работите тук, би трябвало да го знаете. Особено колегите, които са от т.нар. бивша Югославия и колегите от Австрия. Работите по тази тема. Добре знаете, че трябва да се оказва натиск върху правителство в Скопие, за да може да се случи това, което ние всички искаме. Ние всички искаме Република Северна Македония да започне преговори и да се присъедини към Европейския съюз, защото нейното място е в Европейския съюз.

Ние всички знаем, че има про-кремълска и про-белградска пропаганда там и тя трябва да се спре. Но и ваша роля е да оказвате влияние върху това правителство. Вашата задача и роля да оказвате натиск върху това правителство и да позволите българите да се определят като българи, за да започне тази държава да преговаря с Европейския съюз.

 
  
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  President. – All speakers should take into account that the very good capacities of the interpreters have some limitations and we do not want to introduce like in basketball the effective playing time.

 
  
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  Thierry Mariani, au nom du groupe ID. – Monsieur le Président, pour la France, l’élargissement de l’Union européenne en 2007 n’a pas été seulement une déception, mais l’accélérateur d’une sortie de l’histoire. Alors que l’Union européenne veut continuer sur le chemin de l’obésité, il est important de nous souvenir que les promesses de paix, du progrès social et d’amplification de notre influence dans le monde étaient trompeuses.

L’anniversaire des critères de Copenhague est d’ailleurs particulièrement paradoxal puisque la Commission européenne a émis un avis favorable pour la candidature de l’Ukraine, alors même qu’il est évident que Kiev ne remplit pas ces critères. Toute la crédibilité de la construction européenne est donc abîmée, puisque l’Union européenne érige de grands principes qu’elle s’empresse d’oublier et de balayer en fonction des circonstances. L’intégration des pays des Balkans dans l’Union européenne, c’est toujours plus de mafia dans les campagnes françaises. L’Ukraine dans l’Union européenne, c’est la guerre dans l’Union.

Et pour accélérer tout cela, vous voulez en plus que la France accepte d’abandonner ses fonctions régaliennes pour que les votes à la majorité qualifiée soient systématisés au sein du Conseil européen. Il me semble inconcevable qu’un pays membre du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU devienne tributaire des décisions d’États qui ont délégué leur indépendance à l’OTAN. Avec vos propositions, la France pourrait être entraînée demain dans toutes les folies guerrières des uns et des autres s’il y a une majorité contre elle. Nombreux sont les Français qui ne veulent pas un nouvel élargissement de l’Europe, ils regrettent déjà suffisamment les précédents et ils ont bien raison de craindre les suivants.

 
  
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  Γιώργος Γεωργίου (The Left). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, τον περασμένο Ιούνιο, η κυρία von der Leyen δήλωσε ότι οι Ουκρανοί είναι έτοιμοι να θυσιαστούν για την ευρωπαϊκή προοπτική. Πιο πριν, με το ξέσπασμα του πολέμου, με αυθαίρετο και συναισθηματικό τρόπο τους απέδωσε το καθεστώς της υπό ένταξη χώρας. Διερωτώμαι αν αυτά θεωρούνται κριτήρια για τη διεύρυνση.

Κυρία Αντιπρόεδρε, είπατε ότι πρέπει να τηρούνται κριτήρια. Πρόσφατα, το Ευρωπαϊκό Ελεγκτικό Συνέδριο δήλωσε ότι στην Ουκρανία δεν υπάρχουν επαρκείς δικλίδες ασφαλείας κατά της διαφθοράς, ενώ παράλληλα μίλησε και για συστημικό κίνδυνο από τους ολιγάρχες και τα κατοχυρωμένα συμφέροντα. Πού πάει το κριτήριο του κράτους δικαίου; Το ζήτημα που θίγω δεν αφορά ούτε στην Ουκρανία, ούτε στη Μολδαβία, ούτε σε οποιαδήποτε άλλη υπό ένταξη χώρα. Αν την θέλουν και την δικαιούνται, ας την πάρουν. Μήπως όμως κατεβάζουμε μέσα από την όποια διεύρυνση, πολύ χαμηλά τον πήχη των κριτηρίων, υπηρετώντας άλλες σκοπιμότητες; Προέχουν τελικά οι λαοί και τα συμφέροντά τους, ο εκδημοκρατισμός και η ευημερία τους ή η εξυπηρέτηση γεωπολιτικών σκοπιμοτήτων εκ μέρους ισχυρών κρατών της Ένωσης;

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (NI). – Mr President, Commissioner, dear colleagues, 30 years have passed since we set out our criteria for accession. And after an initial impetus that brought us to the current 27 members, we started recording an enlargement fatigue that need to be left apart.

The Russian criminal war against Ukraine, as well the other war crimes committed in our neighbourhood, most notably by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, are making enlargement a first-class priority. But empty promises are no longer enough: we must push not only for Western Balkans, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, but also for a concrete action plan for the access of Armenia. And the first step will be to grant Yerevan the candidate status as soon as the official request is made.

National political leaders must leave apart the short-sighted will to maximise internal consensus by obstructing the enlargement process, they must embrace a truly strategic vision and move further in the accession process for our future members before they will lose hope, starting from the most aligned to our foreign policy.

Widening and deepening are two rails of the same track. Our European project will never be completed until all the European countries that share our democratic values are part of the family. Let us move towards this direction now.

 
  
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  Andrius Kubilius (PPE). – Mr President, dear colleagues, today we are celebrating 30th anniversary of the EU decision on Copenhagen criteria, which was also a strategic signal that Central Europe and Baltic states are invited to join the European Union. What is the difference in between of then and now?

At that time we in the Central Europe and Baltics were quite chaotic, not very stable, post-totalitarian democracies. EU was prudent and brave enough in Copenhagen to offer us a perspective to join EU, and in that way it stabilised us and modernised us. EU enlargement is the most effective instrument to transform EU neighbourhood into stable and successful democracies. At that time our economies were less than 30% of EU average. Now we are reaching EU level and we are overcoming some economies of the old Europe. At that time, EU was unfortunately not brave enough to offer the same perspective for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, and that is the reason why those countries were left behind in their development and lost almost all those 30 years.

After the first wave of enlargement into Central Europe, EU declared that it ‘lost appetite’ for further enlargement, including into Western Balkans and Ukraine, and that was the biggest geopolitical mistake of EU, because that led to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Now it’s time for EU to come back to the geopolitical prudence and bravery like it was done in Copenhagen. From now on, negotiations with accession countries should continue for three or four years, like it was in our case, and let us be ready in 2030 to celebrate new members of EU – Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

 
  
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  Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D). – Senhor Presidente, há poucos anos atrás muitos julgavam que o Brexit iria provocar um terrível efeito dominó, capaz de pôr em causa a própria existência da União Europeia.

A realidade hoje é muito diferente. Nenhum Estado-Membro dá sinais de querer sair e, pelo contrário, temos hoje dez países a querer entrar, nove dos quais já com estatuto de candidato. São cada vez mais os que percebem que pertencer à União Europeia é uma mais-valia.

Como correlator deste Parlamento para o alargamento e o aprofundamento da União, devo recordar que os critérios de Copenhaga são requisitos de adesão e que não pode haver transigência no respeito pelos valores europeus e pelos princípios do Estado de direito. Por isso, cada candidatura será avaliada pelo seu mérito à luz das reformas concretas efetuadas. Mas se os países candidatos têm de fazer reformas, também a União Europeia tem que se reformar no plano institucional e financeiro para estar em condições de absorver novos Estados-Membros.

Não adianta iludir os problemas, é preciso fazer o trabalho de casa para que o alargamento possa ser um sucesso.

 
  
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  Илхан Кючюк (Renew). – Г-н Председател, днес разсъждаваме по една класическа дилема: дали политиката по разширяване е продукт на геополитически причини или е продукт на копенхагенски критерии. Отговорът е ясен. Винаги геополитиката има предимство. Така се е случило, когато и моята страна България се присъедини към Европейския съюз. Определено не бяхме готови по всички критерии, но водещата база беше критерийната. Да, трябваше да изпълним основните критерии на Копенхаген – стабилността на институциите, демокрацията, върховенството на правото, спазването на правата на малцинствата, функционирането на пазарната икономика и готовността да бъдем част от един финансов, икономически и политически съюз, който да върви заедно с всички останали държави – членки, вече на Европейския съюз.

Днес обаче сме изправени, струва ми се, пред една по-сериозна дилема: дали искаме многоангажиращо не просто финансово, социално и икономически да подпомогнем страните от Западните Балкани, плюс Украйна, Молдова и Грузия към това пространство, което споделя общи ценности на върховенството на правото и на демократични стандарти. И за мен отговорът трябва да бъде да, категорично да, ако искаме да бъдем геополитически Европейски съюз.

 
  
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  Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, Commissioner, dear colleagues, rule of law and democracy have always been the rock-solid foundations of our Union. That is our strength. These foundations have been made criteria to become an EU member in Copenhagen 30 years ago, to all those aspiring to join. It was true then as it is true now. Yet today we live in a world of clash between rule of law and rule of gun, between democracies and autocracies, between a rule-based order and a world of aggression.

EU enlargement is a moment of truth for Europe. Our investment in enlargement today will make us more independent and secure tomorrow. I would like to underline two guiding principles for that endeavour. Firstly, enlarging our Union is EU’s geopolitical necessity, but it is also a geopolitical choice, a choice that must be loud and clear; a choice, in the case of the Serbian President, which is incompatible with authoritarian tendency in cosying-up with Beijing and Moscow. Secondly, Copenhagen criteria entail the process and progress based on merits. This means making sure that the judiciary plays an independent role in fighting corruption and organised crime, and standing with us in foreign policy – more important today than ever.

Dear friends in the Western Balkans, in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia: enlargement is a choice for us, but also a choice to you. So it is up to you to move forward with credible reforms as the EU has finally woken up to the call of history.

 
  
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  Anders Vistisen (ID). – Hr. formand! 15 år efter den store østudvidelse står vi her igen. Vi står i situationen, hvor et stort flertal her i huset, EU-Kommissionen, Rådets formand, ønsker en stor udvidelse mod øst. Men har nogen lært af fortiden? Har nogen lært af det kaos, som østudvidelsen bragte, fordi man netop ikke holdt sig til de aftalte spilleregler? Vi har set en bølge af social dumping. Vi har set en bølge af organiseret kriminalitet. Ja, selv den dag i dag – 15 år efter vores sidste store udvidelse – har en række medlemsstater stadig ikke adgang til Schengensamarbejdet, stadig ikke adgang til eurosamarbejdet, fordi man endnu ikke er klar.

Og i den situation, der taler man om at udvide EU med op til 55 millioner nye indbyggere, alle kommende fra lande, der er endnu fattigere og har en endnu dårligere tilstand på retsstatssituationen, end Polen og Ungarn, som dette hus elsker at kritisere. Så hvornår stopper hykleriet? De samme mennesker i dette hus, som på hver eneste plenarsamling, ønsker angreb på den polske regering, ønsker angreb på den ungarske regering, står nu og siger: Lad os tage noget mere af den type regeringer ind. Det er ikke svært at se, når man ser på korruption, når man ser på LGBT-rettigheder, når man ser på alle de parametre, I plejer at gå op i, hvor disse lande ligger. Alligevel står I og byder dem ind med åbne arme, og jeg siger bare: Så må I også tage ansvaret for konsekvenserne.

(Taleren accepterede at besvare et blåt kort-spørgsmål)

 
  
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  Petras Auštrevičius (Renew), blue-card question. – Colleague, you mentioned many so to say shortcomings of the new Member States. But there are some shortcomings within older Member States. You didn’t speak about the lack of democracy in Hungary. The group, I mean, which accommodates probably some affiliated from Orbán party. You did not mention about opt-outs some countries use to limit their participation within the European Union. And finally, you did not speak about the unification of Europe. Do you still believe that this is a very technical project, as the European Union is?

 
  
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  Anders Vistisen (ID), Blåt-kort-svar. – Det er jo sjovt at bringe de danske forbehold ind i debatten, netop fordi de danske forbehold er givet i traktaten, netop fordi den danske befolkning stemte nej til Maastricht-traktaten, og derved var man nødt til at give Danmark forbeholdene. Vi ønsker at beholde forbeholdene, og jeg sagde faktisk ordret i min tale, at det er de samme individer her i salen, der kritiserer Ungarn, men ønsker Moldova. Det hænger simpelthen ikke sammen. Niveauet i Ungarn er højere.

 
  
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  Emmanuel Maurel (The Left). – Monsieur le Président, je comprends les peuples qui veulent rejoindre l’Union européenne, à commencer par le peuple ukrainien qui est agressé et de qui nous sommes solidaires. Je comprends les collègues, sincères, dans cet hémicycle, qui considèrent que c’est notre devoir moral de les accueillir et que c’est aussi nécessaire d’un point de vue géopolitique. Mais à l’encontre des évidences, je pose la question: sommes-nous prêts à absorber un tel choc? Les conditions économiques et politiques sont-elles réunies? Je crois que non. Les conditions politiques, vous en avez parlé: les pays dont on parle ne respectent évidemment pas les critères de Copenhague.

Mais il y a aussi notre propre situation: la crise économique que nous rencontrons, la crise sociale, l’explosion des inégalités. Et je ne suis pas sûr que les salariés européens soient prêts à payer pour un nouvel élargissement, à la fois en raison des transferts budgétaires mais aussi du dumping social. Je vous dis de penser à cela: l’Europe est une construction très fragile et je ne suis pas sûr que nous soyons prêts aujourd’hui à absorber 50 millions d’habitants supplémentaires dans l’Union européenne.

 
  
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  Ernő Schaller-Baross (NI). – Tisztelt Elnök Úr! Ha egy erős Európát akarunk, bővítéspolitikánknak tekintettel kell lennie a geopolitikai és biztonságpolitikai szükségleteinkre. Az Európai Unió zsarolási vagy hitegetési eszközként tekint a bővítésre, vagy éppen kettős mércét alkalmaz a tagfelvétel során, azaz saját egységét és hitelességét ássa alá. Kérem, tartózkodjunk ettől. Az Európai Unióba belépni kívánó országoknak eleget kell tenniük a jogszabályokban foglalt feltételeknek. Természetesen, de különösen a koppenhágai kritériumoknak. Ezen feltételek minden csatlakozni szándékozó ország tekintetében azonosak, azonosnak kell lenniük.

Nemcsak a bizalmat, de az uniós tagállamok geostratégiai érdekeit is sérti, hogy a Nyugat-Balkán egyes országait az EU immár több mint 10 éve hitegeti jelentős előrelépés nélkül, míg Ukrajnával kapcsolatban felgyorsított bővítési politikát folytat. Mi annyit kérünk, hogy mindenkire ugyanazok a szabályok vonatkozzanak.

 
  
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  Андрей Ковачев (PPE). – Г-н Председател, обединението на нашия континент на базата на общите ни европейски ценности е най-важното условие за нашата сигурност и просперитет. Трансформиращата сила на Европейския съюз трябва всеки ден да бъде подновявана с ясни планове и времева рамка за приемането на новите страни членки. Където оставим сива зона в Европа, Русия ще се опита да я запълни. Това усетиха на свой гръб украинците въз основа на нашата голяма грешка, че не ги приехме тогава в НАТО. Пълната интеграция на тези страни в нашия Съюз е наложително като геостратегическа инвестиция в стабилна, силна и обединена Европа. Разбира се интеграцията е двупосочна улица и страните, които са кандидати, трябва да преодолеят проблемите, наслагвани от миналото. Да се постигне историческо помирение, преодоляване на говора на омраза и недискриминацията на всички граждани, независимо от това как се самоопределят. Това е справедливо и основополагаща ценност на Европейския съюз.

Тук искам да кажа, че носталгията към комунизма, към Тито и инерцията от този период не са част от копенхагенските критерии. И колкото по-бързо разберем това, че тази инерция от миналото трябва да бъде преодоляна в страните от бивша Югославия, толкова по-добре. Ние искаме да дадем ясен сигнал на гражданите на страните от региона, че не са забравени и че правим всичко възможно, за да им помогнем, но пълноправното членство зависи от волята и на техните политически елити да изпълнят необходимите реформи.

 
  
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  Alessandra Moretti (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, sono passati 30 anni dai criteri di Copenaghen per i quali uno Stato può diventare membro dell'Unione europea. In questi 30 anni in Europa e nel mondo sono cambiate molte cose ma una cosa però è rimasta la stessa: ossia la politica dell'allargamento rappresenta uno degli strumenti più importanti per garantire la pace, la sicurezza e la prosperità dei popoli.

L'aggressione russa all'Ucraina ha di fatto l'obiettivo anche di indebolire il processo di allargamento e di adesione e ciò porterebbe alcuni Paesi, a pochi passi dai nostri confini, a cadere nelle braccia di regimi autoritari. Mi rivolgo quindi ai Balcani occidentali, alla Serbia, in particolare, chiedendo loro di proseguire nel processo di adesione al fine di garantire il rafforzamento dello Stato di diritto, la solidarietà e la crescita comune attraverso un percorso chiaro senza ambiguità.

Da parte dell'Unione serve un bilancio più ampio e risorse proprie sufficienti per affrontare le sfide future. Ma serve soprattutto la riforma dei Trattati per semplificare le procedure decisionali e rendere questa Europa più vicina alle esigenze e soprattutto alle speranze dei cittadini europei.

 
  
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  Valter Flego (Renew). – Poštovani predsjedavajući, poštovane dame i gospodo, potpredsjednice Komisije, kad nas netko pita kakvu mi tu Europu želimo ‘25. ili ‘30., ja sam siguran da bi svi rekli i zelenu, i digitalnu, i veliku proširenu.

I dok se po pitanju proširenja zbilja nemamo s čime hvaliti, po ova prva dva pitanja puno smo učinili. A zašto se po pitanju proširenja nemamo puno s čime hvaliti da smo nešto učinili u zadnjih deset godina? Pa ja bih rekao da krivaca ima i tu i tamo. Kad kažem tamo, onda mislim na, naravno, neprovođenje reformi u državama koje su van Europske unije, a kada mislim tu, onda mislim na sve ono što je i moja Hrvatska prolazila sa Slovenijom, a i što sada prolazi Sjeverna Makedonija s Bugarskom. Dakle, uvijek nekakvi problemi, da ne kažem ucjene ili blokade.

Ali ja sam danas sretan čovjek. Sretan, jer mislim da svi zajedno shvaćamo da se politika proširenja kao jedna od temeljnih politika Europske unije vraća u fokus i da shvaćamo da reforma Europske unije i proširenje mogu i trebaju ići ruku pod ruku. Hvala vam na tome.

 
  
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  Markéta Gregorová (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, dear colleagues, this is an important anniversary, particularly with the new enlargement impetus. Because of that, we should assess the state of the Union. For too long, the EU has neglected the internal attacks on its main values. We should demand the same governance and rule of law standards from existing members as we set for the candidates. Especially now, when the enlargement process seems to have got a new breath, we must hold aspiring members to the highest standards, but also create methods to enforce those standards on current members across the Union. If a country has to fulfil Copenhagen criteria to join us and can then wipe themselves with them the other day, we will never be a Union – a functioning one, at least.

We must establish post-accession compliance measures, going beyond what is currently in place to actually ensure the functioning of the European Community. Otherwise, we promise our neighbours instability, whether we accept them or not.

 
  
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  Jean-Lin Lacapelle (ID). – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, les critères de Copenhague qui célèbrent leurs 30 ans sont une liste de critères relatifs à la santé économique, à la stabilité et au respect de la démocratie, critères que doivent respecter impérativement tous les pays désireux d’intégrer l’Union européenne.

Alors je vous prends au mot. Où est la stabilité de l’Ukraine attaquée par la Russie? Où est la stabilité de la Moldavie, dans la région de Transnistrie qui a fait sécession avec 20 000 tonnes d’armes? Où est le respect de la démocratie au Kosovo qui persécute la minorité serbe? Où est la prospérité économique lorsque la plupart des Balkans sont sujets à une pauvreté énorme et une corruption massive? Où est l’économie sociale dans une Albanie gangrenée par les trafics d’armes, de drogue et de prostitution? Où est la démocratie en Turquie où des journalistes sont emprisonnés et les opposants brimés?

Stop à l’hypocrisie. C’est Erdogan qui a le mieux démontré l’inutilité de ces critères fantoches de Copenhague lorsqu’il a dit n’avoir aucune intention de reconnaître le génocide arménien car il ne figurait pas parmi ces critères. Ces critères sont en réalité à géométrie variable, idéologiques, secondaires dès lors que l’Union européenne a décidé qu’elle voulait poursuivre son projet expansionniste, mais terriblement funeste pour l’avenir de l’Europe.

 
  
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  Kateřina Konečná (The Left). – Pane předsedající, před devatenácti lety má země vstoupila do Evropské unie a byla tak jedním z prvních států, který se připojil po přijetí kodaňských kritérií. Česká republika tato kritéria týkající se, mimo jiné, zásad demokracie, právního státu či respektu k právům národnostních menšin před svým přijetím musela naplnit. Jejich naplnění se po třiceti letech jejich existence požaduje po všech státech, co mají zájem vstoupit do Evropské unie. A je to tak správně. Jistě bychom nechtěli přijmout zemi, která porušuje práva menšin či zemi, kde korupce dusí veškeré zásady právního státu a ničí lidské životy.

V současnosti však neustále slyšíme, že Ukrajina, která je jedním z nejzkorumpovanějších států v Evropě, kde jsou práva národnostních menšin zásadním způsobem porušována a kde opozice čelí pronásledování, patří do Evropské unie. Ráda bych proto připomněla jako občanka státu, jenž kodaňská kritéria naplnil, že neexistuje žádná zrychlená cesta pro vstup do Evropské unie a že žádný stát, který předtím tato kritéria nenaplnil, do Evropské unie rozhodně nepatří. Nereálné sliby jsou k ničemu.

 
  
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  Vladimír Bilčík (PPE). – Mr President, colleagues, the Copenhagen criteria set the rules to transform Europe after the Cold War and define the foundation for any future enlargement. The ‘big bang’ enlargement of 2004 was successful precisely because of these criteria from 1993. Thanks to their power to change former communist countries into democratic regimes, we are all much stronger and resilient across an enlarged European Union.

Today, the Copenhagen criteria are as relevant as ever. After Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine, there is a strong political will across Europe to enlarge further in our east neighbourhood and in the Western Balkans. Yet, just like in the past, there can be no shortcuts for the accession countries. They do have to adapt to the EU’s democratic and rule of law principles. And, at the same time, we in the EU must reform ourselves in order to prepare for new Member States.

The next enlargement can succeed if we all again rediscover the meaning, the power and the benefits of the Copenhagen criteria. Dear colleagues, enlargement takes hard work, but it pays off.

 
  
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  Nacho Sánchez Amor (S&D). – Señor presidente, señora comisaria, señora secretaria de Estado, en materia de ampliación siempre parece haber una tradicional tensión que, a veces, se convierte en una especie de falso dilema entre las consideraciones geopolíticas y las del examen de valores y principios. Siempre, desgraciadamente, la situación geopolítica juega para rebajar las exigencias en materia de coincidencia de valores.

Es verdad que, históricamente, los procesos de ampliación de la Unión se han producido en situaciones geopolíticas: las tres democracias del sur después de sus transiciones, el acercamiento de todo el Este tras la caída del imperio soviético...

Pero el camino de la adhesión es un camino normativo y enfocado a los valores, en el que no hay atajos. Utilizo la misma expresión que ha utilizado el colega Bilčík. Es normativo, no es transaccional y está basado en mérito.

Cuidado, por tanto, con las excesivas flexibilidades por razones geopolíticas: porque, además, algunos otros candidatos, como Turquía, harán jugar cualquier flexibilidad en favor de sus condiciones. Y, por cierto, habrá que plantearse, en algún momento, si un proceso de adhesión puede durar eternamente sin ningún progreso como está siendo el caso de Turquía.

 
  
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  Francisco José Millán Mon (PPE). – Señor presidente, señora comisaria, presidenta en ejercicio del Consejo, la política de ampliación es una de las más exitosas de la Unión Europea. Desde la adopción de los criterios de Copenhague, dieciséis países se han adherido a la Unión y han tenido que efectuar amplias reformas. Ahora, la agresión rusa a Ucrania ha traído de nuevo a la actualidad el proceso de ampliación que llevaba un tiempo estancado.

En este contexto me parece importante hacer algunas consideraciones. En primer lugar, es evidente que el artículo 49 del Tratado y los criterios de Copenhague tienen que cumplirse. La ampliación es un proceso individual basado en los méritos de cada país. El retraso de un candidato no puede suponer que el resto de países tenga que retrasar su entrada, y me parece inconveniente poner fechas fijas. No podemos acelerar plazos ni, como se ha dicho, permitir atajos, ni crear expectativas erróneas.

También la Unión tiene que estar preparada para la ampliación: lo que se llama capacidad de ampliación o de absorción. Y esto significa, entre otras cosas, más recursos presupuestarios. Me preocupa que en este contexto se hable de recortes y que estos recortes puedan afectar a la cohesión o a la agricultura.

Y termino: la ampliación al este no puede hacernos olvidar la vecindad meridional. La Unión Europea tiene que prestar también la mayor atención a los graves problemas a los que se enfrentan nuestros vecinos de la orilla sur del Mediterráneo.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D). – Doamnă vicepreședintă, doamnă secretară de stat, dragi colegi, extinderea Uniunii Europene nu este numai despre admiterea de noi state membre, despre acquis-ul comunitar sau despre criteriile de la Copenhaga. Extinderea Uniunii Europene este despre atingerea potențialului Uniunii Europene, este despre poziționarea noastră pe harta lumii într-un moment de mari tensiuni și competiții strategice. Este despre oameni și valorile pe care și le asumă.

Suntem la un punct de inflexiune în istorie și trebuie să avem tăria de a face alegerile corecte, dar și de a ne asuma eforturile necesare punerii în practică a acestor decizii. Moldova, Georgia, Balcanii de Vest și Ucraina au ales calea europeană. Oamenii aceștia, în multe cazuri, au plătit prețul alegerii lor cu sânge. Pachetul pe extindere propus de Comisia Europeană este gestul potrivit la momentul potrivit și are toată susținerea noastră.

 
  
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  Željana Zovko (PPE). – Poštovani predsjedniče, poštovana potpredsjednice, od Kopenhaških kriterija je prošlo 30 godina.

Te ‘93 godine Hrvatska i Bosna i Hercegovina su bile pod agresijom, a rat je uhvatio nespremnu Europu. Dvije godine nakon toga je potpisan ‘95. Daytonski mirovni sporazum. Tad su Austrija, Švedska i Finska ušle u Europsku uniju. Za to vrijeme ‘93. Belgija je dobila Ustav gdje su zastupljene sve tri jezične skupine konačno s jednakim udjelom vlasti kroz federalizaciju. Godine 2004. bio je veliki val proširenja, koji je zahvatio istočnu Europu, a 2005. Republika Hrvatska dobila je kandidatski status uz Tursku i Sjevernu Makedoniju. Republika Hrvatska ulazi zadnja 2013.

Tek je rat u Ukrajini otvorio priču o miru i sigurnosti, proširenju na realan način. Gospodo draga, Rim nije sagrađen u jednom danu, a tako ni reforme ugovora nisu niti će biti promijenjene, niti su nužne da bi se ostvarilo proširenje. Proširenje je nužno da bismo se fizički obranili od ugroza koje dolaze od strane onih koji u međuvremenu koriste vakuum koji smo ostavili.

Na kraju, otvorite pregovore s Bosnom i Hercegovinom, od nje je sve počelo.

 
  
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  Matjaž Nemec (S&D). – Gospod predsednik, spoštovani visoki zbor. Pred tremi desetletji smo se v širitveni politiki zavezali demokraciji, človekovim pravicam, pravni državi, gospodarskemu razvoju in blaginji. To je bila obljuba o enotnosti, varnosti, o napredku za vse, ki so del naše evropske skupnosti.

Nato smo zavezo evropske perspektive pred dvajsetimi leti dali tudi Zahodnemu Balkanu. A vse prevečkrat se dandanes zdi, da smo na obe obljubi pozabili.

Kopenhagenske kriterije kršijo obstoječe države članice. Širitvena politika je bila več let v mrtvem teku, torej ob zaostrenih geopolitičnih razmerah v soseščini postajata obe zavezi ne zgolj politično smeli, ampak strateško nujni.

Širitvena politika ob vseh svojih težavah ostaja največja garancija miru, varnosti in stabilnosti, a ta s seboj sicer prinaša številne izzive in pasti, ki jih bo morala Evropska unija pred prihodnjimi širitvami nujno razrešiti.

Torej, spoštovani, Evropa ne bo nikoli dokončana in popolna brez Zahodnega Balkana v svoji družini. Spoštovani, to zmoremo! Imamo moralno dolžnost, da to našo zavezo tudi uresničimo. Hvala lepa.

 
  
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  Lukas Mandl (PPE). – Sehr geehrter Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Wir sprechen hier zum 30-jährigen Jubiläum der Kopenhagener Kriterien. Die Kriterien sind gut, aber ihre Anwendung ist in eine Schieflage geraten, und sie sind sicher nicht hinreichend, um Europa mehr Stärke nach außen zu geben, wie es Europa brauchen würde.

Die Kopenhagener Kriterien kennen eine Wertedimension, eine Wirtschafts- und Wettbewerbsfähigkeitsdimension und eine strukturelle Dimension, den sogenannten acquis, wo es um die Einhaltung von Regeln geht. De facto wird in allem, was Erweiterung betrifft, immer nur bürokratistisch-administrativ – vor allem seitens der Europäischen Kommission, wobei ich die heute anwesende Kommissarin Dubravka Šuica ausnehme; sie ist aus dem Parlament gekommen, kennt den Parlamentarismus und weiß, was Leadership bedeutet – es wird Bezug genommen auf diese bürokratistischen Fragen, nicht auf die Werte.

Sonst könnten wir nicht mit der aktuellen serbischen Führung locker verhandeln oder die Türkei unter der aktuellen Führung als Beitrittskandidat behandeln. Und was Wettbewerbsfähigkeit betrifft, da nimmt sich Europa heute oft insgesamt aus dem Spiel, wir verlangen es aber von Erweiterungskandidaten.

Wir brauchen Leadership, wir brauchen einen klaren Willen – wie bei der deutschen Wiedervereinigung und anderen Momenten in der Geschichte Europas.

 
  
 

Spontane Wortmeldungen

 
  
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  Petras Auštrevičius (Renew). – Gerbiamas Pirmininke, 1993 m. birželio mėnesį įvykęs Europos vadovų susitikimas tapo svarbiu žingsniu panaikinant Europos kontinentą dalijusios Berlyno sienos žymes. Tai buvo išmintingas ir labai pasvertas politinis sprendimas, atvėręs vartus Europos vienijimosi procesui, procesui, kuris sustiprino pačią Europą. Kopenhagos kriterijų reikšmė nesunyko ir dabar. Suprantama, juos keičia nauja geopolitinė situacija ir atsiranda poreikis jos strateginiams veiksniams. Kopenhagos kriterijai nustatė objektyvius narystės parametrus, objektyvius, todėl atsirado galimybė valstybių kandidačių palyginamumui ir konstruktyviai konkurencijai. Mieli kolegos, nepamirškime mūsų kontinento politinės istorijos ir nebijokime eiti vieningos Europos keliu.

 
  
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  Tomislav Sokol (PPE). – Poštovani predsjedavajući, trideset godina nakon njihova definiranja Kopenhaški kriteriji i dalje označavaju ključne uvjete koje države kandidatkinje moraju ispuniti da bi postale članice Europske unije.

Nakon dugotrajne faze zamora proširenjem, čini se da se konačno pojavila politička volja za nastavkom ovog političkog procesa. Ako državama u susjedstvu Europska unija ne ponudi jasnu perspektivu, one će potpuno potpasti pod utjecaj stranih sila, što dugoročno predstavlja katastrofu za sigurnost Europe.

Da se razumijemo, u procesu proširenja svaku državu treba gledati isključivo individualno i prosuđivati prema zaslugama. Nema ulaska u EU preko reda. To pogotovo mora shvatiti Aleksandar Vučić za čije je vladavine srpski hegemonizam postao glavna prijetnja za stabilnost jugoistočne Europe. A demokracija u Srbiji napravila je ne jedan, već tri koraka unatrag.

S druge strane, odluka Komisije da uvjetno preporuči otvaranje pregovora o pristupanju za Bosnu i Hercegovinu poticaj je za nastavak reformskog procesa u toj državi, što svakako treba pozdraviti i podržati BiH u teškim reformama koje joj predstoje.

 
  
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  Barry Andrews (Renew). – Mr President, Commissioner and colleagues, it hasn’t been mentioned in this debate, but the very first enlargement of the European Union was 50 years ago, in 1973, when Ireland, the UK and Denmark joined the EEC. Had the criteria applied in 1973, there’s no way that Ireland would have been able to join the EEC at that time, not only because of the conflict that was raging on the island of Ireland at that time, but also because we didn’t really have a functioning social market economy. But, like so many accession stories, Ireland joining has been an unambiguously positive story.

The criteria is the way we will build our European home, but we mustn’t allow Putin, in particular, to get away with weaponising the Copenhagen criteria through the seeding of conflict in neighbours and the enragement and inflaming of minority sentiment. That is why I fully endorse the decision to provide a clear pathway to membership for both Ukraine and Moldova.

 
  
 

(Ende der spontanen Wortmeldungen)

 
  
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  Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, honourable Members, I would like to thank you for sharing your views on enlargement policy and for further stressing the importance of the Copenhagen criteria. But before thanking and concluding, I would like to reply to a few questions. First to Mr Mariani, who unfortunately left, and to Ms Konečná, on Ukraine. Only a few words.

The question was: has Ukraine received special treatment due to the war? Ukraine accession process is merit-based. Ukraine has gone through the regular steps that each country who wishes to join the European Union needs to take. Since the granting of candidature status, the European Commission has published its analytical report on Ukraine’s preparations for EU accession in February 2023, and it has updated Member States on progress towards meeting the seven steps of the Commission Opinion, and Ukraine has been included in the Enlargement Package for the first time this year, alongside with Moldova and Georgia. As such, no special treatment has been given to Ukraine in the enlargement process.

Despite Russia’s war of aggression, Ukraine made significant progress in the implementation of the seven steps since the European Council of June last year. Ukraine has established a transparent pre-selection system for the Constitutional Court judges and reformed the judicial governance bodies. Ukraine has ensured the appointment of independent heads of the anti-corruption agencies, and has built a credible track record of high-level corruption investigations and convictions. To sustain these efforts, Ukraine took additional measures, such as the implementation of the State Anti-Corruption Programme and the restoration of the electronic asset declaration system, also with some shortcomings.

Ukraine has also advanced on the alignment of its Anti-Money-Laundering Framework with the Financial Action Task Force Centres. It has adopted a comprehensive strategic plan for the reform of the law-enforcement sector. It has stepped up systematic measures against oligarchs in such areas as competition and political-party funding, and agreed to revise an anti-oligarch law to bring it in line with European law or European rule of law standards. Ukraine has aligned its media law with European Union law, and continued to strengthen the protection of national minorities by amending the laws on minorities, and the laws on education, and taking measures to implement them – just to mention a few.

On Bosnia and Herzegovina, to colleague Željana Zovko, once again, we have to reiterate this: the Commission has recommended the opening negotiations once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is achieved. President von der Leyen was clear: the Commission is opening wide the door to European Union membership and inviting Bosnia and Herzegovina to walk the walk through it, including by showing results on addressing the Opinion key priorities. The enlargement process remains merit-based, and we expect Bosnia and Herzegovina to deliver. The Council will discuss the conclusions on enlargement by December, and the Commission will report on progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the latest by March 2024. This is very important.

So, if someone asks what necessary degree of compliance means, we said that the door is left open for – this concerns the requirement for membership – Copenhagen political criteria, the same formula used in the 2019 Opinion on the membership application, when the Commission identified 14 key priorities on the political criteria. So, by March 2024, we will be ready to assess again Bosnia and Herzegovina’s achievements.

As evidenced by Enlargement Package published only a few days ago, 2023 has been an eventful year for enlargement. We are indeed celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Copenhagen criteria. But 2023 also marks 20 years since the Thessaloniki summit, and the first unequivocal confirmation of the European perspective for all Western Balkan countries, and also 10 years since the last enlargement to Croatia, my own country.

More than ever, it is time to seize the momentum and make swift progress. I look forward to cooperating closely with our partners on meeting the Copenhagen criteria and working towards an enlarged Union. The European project is not complete without our partners from the Western Balkans and the East. The Copenhagen criteria will continue to guide us on this journey towards an enlarged European Union. Maintaining the current dynamic around enlargement is essential, and we count on that.

 
  
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  Ángeles Moreno Bau, presidenta en ejercicio del Consejo. – Señor presidente, señorías, señora comisaria, quisiera concluir haciéndome eco del parecer que también ha manifestado el Parlamento Europeo. La Presidencia cree firmemente en la relevancia estratégica de la ampliación de la Unión Europea. Al igual que hace treinta años, esta sigue siendo un fuerte anclaje para la paz, la democracia, la seguridad y la estabilidad de nuestro continente.

El proceso exige mucho a los candidatos, aunque los motivos subyacentes son buenos. Ahora que se abre ante nosotros la perspectiva de que la Unión Europea se amplíe, es fundamental que los países aspirantes aceleren sus reformas. Esto es especialmente cierto en el ámbito del Estado de Derecho, un valor fundamental en el que se basa la Unión Europea y un aspecto crucial de la transformación democrática que se halla en el mismo corazón del proceso de ampliación.

Dentro del contexto de nuestra nueva realidad geopolítica, también desearía recordar que adoptar los valores fundamentales de la Unión Europea y comprometerse a respetarlos es una opción estratégica firme, esencial para todos los socios que aspiren a pertenecer a la Unión Europea. Aceptar por completo la política exterior y de seguridad común de la Unión Europea es una parte integrante de esta opción estratégica.

Muchas gracias por este provechoso debate.

 
  
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  Der Präsident. – Die Aussprache ist damit geschlossen.

Die Abstimmung findet während der nächsten Tagung statt.

Schriftliche Erklärungen (Artikel 171)

 
  
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  Andrea Bocskor (NI), írásban. – A koppenhágai kritériumok azért születtek, hogy az Európai Unió bővítése egységes elvek és értékek mentén történjen. A bővítés célja az Unió stratégiai erősítése, békéjének és biztonságának biztosítása kell legyen. El kell kerülni, hogy az uniós csatlakozás üres hitegetéssé váljon a csatlakozni kívánó országok számára. Az elmúlt évek azonban azt mutatják, hogy az EU bővítéspolitikáját kettős mérce jellemzi: míg a Nyugat-Balkán országai több éve teljesítenek a csatlakozás érdekében, mégsem történik előrelépés, Ukrajna rohamlépésekben halad előre. Ukrajna a háború kitörése után nyújtotta be csatlakozási kérelmét, elkötelezve magát az EU értékei mellett, vállalva az Unió által javasolt reformok végrehajtását.

Azonban a reformok egy része csak látszat-cselekvés: Ukrajna a reformprogram álcája mögött meghozott törvényeivel szűkítette a kisebbségi jogokat, megfosztva ezzel az európai anyaországgal rendelkező nemzeti kisebbségeket a korábban szerzett jogaiktól. Példa erre az 1992-es kisebbségi törvényt váltó új nemzeti kisebbségekről szóló törvény Ukrajnában, mely visszalépést jelent az országban élő kisebbségek joggyakorlása tekintetében. Ukrajna uniós csatlakozása csak abban az esetben támogatható, ha teljes mértékben végrehajtja az Unió csatlakozási feltételeit! A legfontosabb, hogy béke legyen Ukrajnában és komoly erőfeszítések történjenek a kisebbségi jogok helyreállítása terén!

 
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