The Slovenia Times

Speakers stress importance of EU enlargement

Daily news

Brdo pri Kranju - The second day of the conference of EU parliamentary speakers in Brdo pri Kranju focussed on the EU as a guarantor of stability, safety and prosperity in the region and beyond. The speakers stressed the importance of the EU enlargement, also in the light of events in Ukraine.

Slovenian Speaker Igor Zorčič said the Russian aggression represented everything the EU had been fighting against, describing the attack on Ukraine as an attack on the fundamental European values of peace, democracy and harmony among nations.

"This is why we as leaders of key European representative institutions must be aware that the battle of Ukrainians for peace and freedom is not only their but is the battle of the entire European democratic community," Zorčič said.

He believes the EU has confirmed this by responding to the war with unity, solidarity and determination.

Many Europeans have opened their hearts and homes, and are offering aid and shelter to some of the millions of Ukrainians feeling the war. "Europe has demonstrated that solidarity remains its fundamental connective tissue."

Zorčič stressed that EU parliaments condemning the Russian aggression and expressing firm support to Ukraine and its people had been very important.

"The parliaments have lent their voice to Ukraine and send the message to the world that its future was in Europe, that we want it to become part of the European project," Zorčič said.

The call to solve the crisis with political dialogue based on respect of democratic values was particularly important, he said.

The Slovenian speaker also expressed joy that Ukrainian Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk addressed the conference via video.

The EU as a symbol of progress and stability must retain and enhance its role in its entire neighbourhood. The policy of enlargement must remain a key geostrategic tool and the speeding up of the enlargement process an important priority, Zorčič said.

"Because of the alarmingly fragile stability of the Western Balkans it is more important than ever that we send a clear message to the region, as this is the only way to prevent the negative effects of the war in Ukraine from spilling over into this part of Europe," Zorčič warned.

He thinks it is crucial that the enlargement process becomes more dynamic and credible, because this encourages reform efforts. He called for concrete progress in the enlargement to the Western Balkans and in processing of requests for membership recently submitted by Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, noting that the European future of these countries was "in the best interest of us all".

The EU must also lead an ambitious policy of cooperation with other countries in the region to "create a broad space of freedom, security and prosperity on the entire European continent".

Macedonian Speaker Talat Xhaferi thanked the EU for all the aid and support it had provided to North Macedonia's reform efforts aimed at meeting EU membership criteria.

He said that the current "tectonic shifts" in security revealed a clear need for strengthening of partnership and the EU enlargement, because this was extremely important for the stability of the region.

He called for the EU enlargement narrative to be adjusted as soon as possible to take into account the recent drastic changes in the European security, economic and energy landscapes. "We would like the enlargement process to become more dynamic and accession talks to start as soon as possible."


More from Daily news