The European Parliament is set to debate a report on the Western Balkans which calls for the start of pre-accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia and speedier closing of chapters with Serbia and Montenegro.
The report by rapporteur Tonino Picula MEP was adopted by the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs two months ago. It was used in preparing the Zagreb Summit in May.
According to Picula, the European Union is committed to expanding to include the Western Balkan countries but expects them to continue reforms on the road to membership. He said that the document sends the EP’s strong message of support to the expansion process and states that membership in the EU is the final goal which is in everyone’s interest.
The report calls the EU institution to engage themselves more in the region, especially in helping combat corruption, promote reconciliation and the gradual integration of those countries but warns that expansion depends on reforms and results.
The part of the report covering the media says that smear campaigns, threats and the intimidation of journalists and media outlets must be condemned, investigated and processed in court and adds that journalists must have safe working conditions.