European integration of Western Balkan countries remains PES priority
This Tuesday the European Commission finally published the 2015 progress reports for EU accession countries. A shadow of doubt had loomed that they were being delayed due to EPP fears that criticism towards Turkey might thwart a deal on refugees.
'The PES is the only party that remains truly committed to the enlargement process. It is one of the most powerful instruments to create peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Last weekend we gathered in Belgrade with our sister parties from the Western Balkans. We want to continue to build momentum for reforms despite discouraging messages from other parties', says PES President Sergei Stanishev.
Kristian Vigenin, PES Western Balkan Task Force Chair, 'Countries should comply with the acquis in its entirety. Freedom of media and rule of law are important issues in countries such as Serbia, FYR Macedonia and Turkey. As PES we will remain vigilant and support our sister parties that expose abuses of power.'
What the Western Balkans countries need now is continued investment to create growth and employment opportunities for young people. We will push for an increase of funds and investments directed at the region. This is the only way to guarantee stability in a climate where tensions are constantly fuelled by xenophobic voices.