European Parliament sends strong signal of support for countries wishing to join the EU

Today, the European Parliament voted on the new financial Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) devoted to support the candidate and potential candidate countries during the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027. The European Commission has proposed to increase the envelope of pre-accession funds to €14.5 billion. The Socialists and Democrats consider this is a good start for further negotiations. However, we expect the EU to be more ambitious as pre-accession funds are a long-term investment into the European future of both the enlargement countries and the EU itself.

Knut Fleckenstein, co-rapporteur on Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and S&D spokesperson on foreign affairs said:

“The discussion yesterday and the results of the vote in plenary are a visible signal for the countries in the Western Balkans, which shows that they have a strong ally in the European Parliament -and if necessary, even towards the European Council. The parliament’s position on the IPA III funds makes it clear that the utmost will be done to help the candidate countries to become members of the European Union in the near future. I am convinced that also after the European Parliament elections we will have a broad pro-enlargement majority amongst MEPs.”
“The third generation of the pre-accession funds learned from its predecessors and will be more effective. We strengthened the social dimension of enlargement policy and made sure that IPA funds are disbursed in a non-discriminatory way, reaching all the regions and not being distributed by governments according to political interest!”