Opinion Factsheet  

Utvidgningspaketet 2020

Opinion Number: CDR 5059/2020
Rapporteur: DOBROSLAVIĆ Nikola
Commission: CIVEX
Status: Adopted
Date: 07/05/2021

 reiterates that it is in favour of all Western Balkan countries joining the EU, provided they meet all the accession criteria; underlines in this respect the importance of sending positive signals to countries of the Western Balkans;

 calls on the European Commission to remain committed to high standards of openness, inclusiveness and responsiveness when drawing up the enlargement package, and to indicate in its report how stakeholders from enlargement countries – in particular local and regional authorities – were involved in drafting this document and the progress report;

 reiterates that public administration reform in the Western Balkan countries, which the European Commission systematically monitors in line with the principles of public administration, cannot be implemented without good governance at local level, and calls on the European Commission to incorporate into its public administration reform support measures and instruments more precise performance indicators on fiscal decentralisation, the empowerment of local and regional authorities to develop and provide quality services to the general public and businesses, and the promotion of inclusive and evidence-based policy-making at local and regional levels;

 underlines that missing political plurality or suppression of positions and intimidation of elected officials belonging to opposition parties at the local level in some of the countries of the Western Balkans are major challenges to local democracies in those countries;

 welcomes the EU's comprehensive support given to the governments of the Western Balkans for addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and for responding effectively to urgent health and socio-economic needs; asks the European Commission to recognise the importance of the role of local and regional authorities in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and to propose additional measures to support decentralised cooperation between local and regional authorities and increase their crisis management capacities;

calls on the European Commission to put forward proposals for involving representatives of the national, regional and local levels in the Western Balkans in the work of the Conference on the Future of Europe.