Towards a new EU strategy for enlargement: a new momentum
The EU needs to step up the involvement of local and regional authorities of EU Member States and candidate countries in the accession process, states a European Parliament’s report on the new EU strategy for enlargement. It was presented by MEP Tonino Picula at the plenary session in Strasbourg on 22 November.
During the debate, the Croatian MEP emphasised that in the situation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, expansion must gain new momentum, be predictable and believable, “as the single most effective EU instrument for securing peace, prosperity and fundamental values on the European continent.”
The rapporteur Mr Picula also added that each candidate for membership must be evaluated according to progress in European reforms, especially when it comes to the rule of law, the judiciary, and that EU support funds should be accessible to candidates for membership before they become full members of the Union.
With reference to Eastern Partnership countries, the Report welcomes the European Council’s exceptionally swift decision on the EU membership applications of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia and calls upon the Commission and the Council to continue to provide them with political and technical support.
Similarly, it invites the authorities of the three countries to unambiguously demonstrate their political determination to realise the European aspirations of their people by making significant progress on substantial reforms to effectively fulfil the criteria for EU membership as soon as possible. Focus is in particular on the independence of the judiciary, the fight against corruption, democratic oversight, human rights and de-oligarchisation.
Finally, it is stressed that the facilitation of these countries’ transitions from the Eastern Partnership to the enlargement framework would require the switchover from the NDICI – Global Europe instrument to the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). However, such a transition should be accompanied by a sufficient increase in the overall budget of IPA III in order to retain funding for current IPA III beneficiaries.
© European Union 2022 – Source : EP