The European Parliament has announced that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted and are fully in support of continuing the process to allow Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia to join the EU, according to an announcement published by the Parliament.
The details of the announcement will be summarized below specific to each country:
MEPs are ready to move forward with negotiations with Albania immediately, given that their elections in April 2021 are found to be fair and truly democratic. Democratic elections have been an issue for Albania in the past, and this is the final concern that Parliament has about allowing the country to join the EU.
Viewing Kosovo’s independence at irreversible, MEPs urge the five EU countries that still do not recognize Kosovo as a legitimate country to do so immediately. According to Parliament, the recognition of the country will benefit Kosovo and Serbia by normalizing the idea of an independent Kosovo apart from Serbia. In addition, MEPs are calling for the immediate adoption of a visa-free regime for Kosovar citizens to the EU and Schengen Area. Finally, Parliament is urging the Kosovar government to refrain from any actions that might undermine trust between them and Serbia.
MEPs are urging the EU to begin holding accession meetings with North Macedonia to begin talks of joining the EU immediately. This is the result of the country remaining committed to adopting EU reforms. MEPs are also urging the North Macedonian and Bulgarian governments to find a compromise for a dispute between the two countries, and they note that North Macedonia has still not yet implemented their recommendations regarding discrimination in the country against Bulgarians or people of Bulgarian descent.
MEPs are stressing the importance of alignment with EU common foreign and security policy, of which Serbia is the least aligned in the region. They also have expressed concern over the functioning of the country’s new parliament, where there is no parliamentary opposition. However, MEPs are welcoming of Serbia’s reforms made in these directions, and are urging the Serbian government to refrain from any activities that might undermine trust between them and Kosovo.
There is still no timeline for when any of the aforementioned countries might be eligible to join the EU or when the actual integration process can fully begin.
The abovementioned information is drawn from the Parliament’s response to the Commission’s annual Commission reports, which includes accession information and potential candidates for EU Member State status.
To read the Parliament’s response, click this link.