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EU lawmakers ask crackdown on funds to candidate countries

Resources linked to progress in reforms and respect rule of law

27 March, 19:13
(ANSA) - STRASBOURG, MARCH 27 - Progress in social, political and economic reforms, respect for human rights and EU democratic standards. These are the three 'guiding' criteria requested by the European Parliament within the framework of pre-accession assistance (IPA III) to be included in the next EU budget 2021-2027 for the distribution of European funds the candidate countries to join the Union. EU lawmakers approved their position at the Strasbourg plenary with 513 votes in favor, 97 against and 45 abstentions. Parliament calls for a crackdown on the rules for the allocation of pre-accession funds, which help candidate and potential candidate countries (Western Balkans and Turkey) aspiring to join the EU to reform their political, economic and legal systems, in order to prepare for the rights and obligations of an EU membership. MEPs agreed the pre-accession funds should follow the "principle of equity" based on the results obtained by the candidate countries to align themselves to EU standards. Previously, a fixed envelope was set out for each candidate country. This would introduce "more flexibility" to address the evolving needs of the 'EU enlargement partners', encouraging progress in internal reforms and compliance with the accession criteria (Copenhagen criteria). MEPs call the EU Commission to partially or fully suspend EU assistance in cases of consistent breached by a candidate country of one or more of these criteria. The final regulation on European funds for pre-accession assistance will be shaped in negotiations with the EU Council, which should begin later this year. (ANSA).

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