PES calls for progress on European future for the Western Balkans

06/10/2021

Today’s European Council must send a clear message of support for the European perspective for the Western Balkans region. The enlargement process must be credible and consistent, prime ministers and leaders from the Party of European Socialists and its sister parties from the region agreed today in Slovenia.

Europe’s socialist political family held a pre-summit meeting in Ljubljana this morning to coordinate ahead of the EU-Western Balkans Summit later today. The meeting called for dialogue focused on achieving a peaceful European future for the Western Balkans. The European spirit and tradition of dialogue and compromise are essential for the stability of the region and the European perspective on the Western Balkans.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“We welcome the continued good progress on reforms in the region and commend our sister parties in government and opposition for the enormous efforts, demonstrating that it is progressives who can make a difference.

“It is essential that people see the accession process in action. Tangible results must be felt by citizens in the region, especially the young generation. Our political family has always supported a European perspective for the whole region and it is our duty to continue working together with our sister parties to make that happen.

“The Summit should clearly demonstrate not only that accession is still a credible goal, but that the EU and the Western Balkans have common agenda and are already working as one community. Steering through the pandemic, ensuring a swift and socially just economic recovery and driving the green and digital transitions are just a few examples of the common challenges we have to deal with. Delivering on these is our common responsibility. This is what will really foster cohesion and convergence, and ultimately strengthen the process of EU integration.”

Sergei Stanishev added:

“I want to extend my warm thanks to Tanja Fajon and SD Slovenia for hosting us. The whole socialist and democratic family wishes them success for the Slovenian elections next year. The social democratic party has proven that it is the uniting force that cab provide an alterative for Slovenia."

PES leaders welcomed the final adoption of the EU’s Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, which will see some €14,2 billion invested over the next 7 years in support of key political, institutional, social and economic reforms in the region. They also commended the €9 billion funding that the EU will provide to help the Western Balkans respond to the Covid-19 crisis, and financial support expected to be mobilised through the Economic and Investment Plan as well as with other EU guarantees instruments.

The PES commends efforts to strengthen regional cooperation in the Western Balkans through a Common Regional Market and the Open Balkan initiative. 

Prime ministers and leaders also stressed the importance for the EU to take innovative approaches to address rising energy prices. During the covid crisis the EU showed it can work together and it must show the same spirit to address the current challenges on energy for the benefit of all citizens.
 

The Summit was attended by:

  • Sergei Stanishev, President, PES
  • Antonio Costa, Prime Minister, Portugal
  • Pedro Sanchez, Prime Minister, Spain
  • Josep Borrell, EU High Representative
     
  • Edi Rama, Prime Minister, Albania
  • Albin Kurti, Prime Minister*, Kosovo
     
  • Tanja Fajon, leader SD, Slovenia
  • Peda Grbin, leader SDP, Croatia
  • Fofi Gennimata, leader PASOK, Greece
  • Alexis Tsipras, leader Syriza, Greece (observer)
  • Sasa Magazinovic, chairman SPD, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Miodrag GavrilovicVice President DS, Serbia
     
  • Giacomo Filibeck, PES Deputy Secretary General

Photos from the event HERE


*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.