Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo – key players for stability in the #WesternBalkans


The European Parliament today (14 June) adopted the progress reports of three countries in the Western Balkans, which are key for keeping the stability in the region. Though Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo are in different phases on their European path, it is important to continue the reforms in order to meet EU’s democratic and economic criteria.

ALDE MEP, Ivo Vajgl (DeSUS, Slovenia), EP rapporteur on Macedonia, welcomed the formation of a new government in Skopje which ended a long, turbulent political crisis:

“The European Parliament has taken positive note of Macedonia´s progress towards EU membership. The new government that took office on June 1st has committed itself to pursuing the important reforms outlined in the Urgent Reform Priorities and the Pržino Agreement, which enabled the country to hold transparent elections and overcome a protracted political crisis. Macedonia should now accelerate the process of the adoption of EU standards, values and principles. A democratic and progressive Macedonia will contribute to the stability of South-Eastern Europe and to the Western Balkans´ prospects for Euro-Atlantic integration.”

“Serbia is progressing well on its European path and this is the good news from the Western Balkans. Having this in mind, we cannot ignore the fact that the country continues to raise concerns as regards the independence and neutrality of media, political pressure on the judiciary and the rights of minorities.  Serbia is a major factor of stability in the region and therefore bears the responsibility of maintaining good relations with all its neighbours. “

ALDE MEP, Hilde Vautmans (Open VLD, Belgium), shadow rapporteur on Kosovo, said interest of citizens must come first in the relations between Pristina and its neighbours:

“We welcome the entry into force of the EU-Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Agreement on April 2016 as a basis of further EU-Kosovo relations. I am though concerned about the extreme polarisation of the political landscape as the government and opposition have severely clashed over relations with Serbia and the border demarcation with Montenegro. I call on both parties to ease the tensions, in favour of their own citizens. Although Kosovo makes some progress against corruption, on the organisation of the justice apparatus and against LGTI-discriminations they have to step up their efforts.”

ALDE MEP, Jozo Radoš (Croatian People’s Party – Liberal Democrats), who drafted ALDE Group’s position paper on the Western Balkans’ accession to the EU, added:

“Low turnout in Kosovo’s parliamentary elections, in combination with high unemployment, especially among the youth, can be an indication of the lost enthusiasm toward the European Union. Although Kosovo’s progress is scant, the European Parliament and the European Commission should continue to work on Kosovo’s European path.”

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Category: A Frontpage, EU, European Parliament, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia