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RESOLUTION ON

REGIONAL CO-OPERATION IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE

    1. Praising the progress achieved by the South East European countries towards sustaining regional co-operation and shared interests, and strongly supporting the collective goal of integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania into the European Union,
    2. Recalling the Thessaloniki Summit of 2003, whereby the European Union reiterated its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries,
    3. Appreciating Croatia's accession to the European Union as the 28th Member State on 1 July 2013 as well the accession-related progress made by other countries aspiring to become Member States,
    4. Welcoming the advances made by the South East European countries in fostering regional co operation and reconciliation as well as the historic agreement reached by Belgrade and Pristina on 19 April 2013,
    5. Expressing full support for the work of the South-East European Co-operation Process (SEECP) and appreciating the initiatives undertaken on the occasion of the Annual Meetings of the Speakers of Parliaments of the SEECP,
    6. Welcoming other regional parliamentary initiatives and conferences, such as the Cetinje Parliamentary Forum which regularly brings together Members of Parliament in order to achieve closer parliamentary co-operation,
    7. Praising the work of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) as an all-inclusive platform for overall regional co-operation in South East Europe, including parliamentary co-operation and emphasizing the role of the RCC in the process of co-ordinating and monitoring the implementation of the South East Europe 2020 Strategy,
    8. Welcoming the role of the Parliamentary Assembly of the South-East European Co-operation Process, which met for the first time in May 2014 after years of preparation, as an important catalyst in enhancing parliamentary co-operation among parliaments of the South-East European Cooperation Process, as well as to serve as a focal point for co operation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE and other parliamentary assemblies and international and regional organizations,
    9. Reaffirming the OSCE's continued commitment to the Western Balkans, also reflected by the share of its Unified Budget dedicated to the region as well as the valuable support provided by its field operations,
    10. Noting the 2014 Swiss Chairmanship's priority of reconciliation and co-operation in the Western Balkans, including through the appointment of a Special Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office to support regional co-operation in the Western Balkans as well as the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina,
    11. Attaching great importance to the OSCE's substantial expertise, including that of its field operations, and its support for the reform processes which are also preconditions for the European Union's enlargement policy and a means to retain momentum behind reform and regional co-operation,
    12. Recalling the OSCE PA's commitment to serving as a platform for inter-parliamentary dialogue and co-operation in the region, including through its Special Representative on South East Europe,
    13. Praising the economic progress achieved by the countries of the region, despite their economic interdependence with countries affected by the global financial and economic challenges,
    14. Welcoming the consolidated trend of peaceful transitions in governments, demonstrating general progress in fulfilling the OSCE's election-related commitments,
    15. Noting that issues pertinent to war crimes, missing persons, and refugees as well as the protection of minorities remain challenges on the path towards regional reconciliation and co operation,
    16. Underscoring that the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, and the fight against corruption and organized crime are issues of particular concern to the OSCE and the European Union,
    17. Praising the South East European countries for developing regionally-owned initiatives in the fields of economic development, cross-border co-operation, arms control, law enforcement, and risk disaster management,

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

    1. Encourages participating States to support the countries of the region in their efforts to consolidate the overall positive developments witnessed over the past year;
    2. Criticizes the periodic recurrence of episodes demonstrating unconstructive prejudices both within and towards the region;
    3. Urges those participating States that are already members of the European Union, NATO or both to respond quickly, positively and consistently when Western Balkan countries aspiring to membership make sufficient progress in their reform efforts and satisfy the criteria for moving to the next step in the integration process;
    4. Calls upon the European Union, in particular, to avoid creating artificial obstacles along the accession track;
    5. Encourages the countries of the region to continue to engage in regional co-operation processes and fostering good neighbourly relations;
    6. Supports domestic and regional activities and efforts aimed at safeguarding the principle of the rule of law, including the independence of the judiciary, as well as enhancing freedom of the media and the fight against corruption and organized crime;
    7. Offers its co-operation on outstanding issues pertinent to war crimes, missing persons, refugees and the protection of minorities including Roma;
    8. Looks forward to a continuation of a genuine and constructive dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina on the basis of the landmark agreement reached on 19 April 2013;
    9. Reaffirms the need to address potential bilateral disputes in accordance with international law and established principles, including through the formulation and implementation of legally binding agreements, and offers its mediation wherever necessary and appropriate;
    10. Welcomes the increasing contribution of parliamentarians, officials and citizens of the Western Balkan countries to security and co-operation not only in South East Europe but throughout the OSCE region, including the sharing of experience and expertise with post conflict recovery and democratic development;
    11. Encourages the region to continue to make the best use of the OSCE, including the Chairperson-in-Office's Special Representative for the Western Balkans as well as the Parliamentary Assembly and its Special Representative on South East Europe and its field operations, as valuable tools to support the region's ambitions and reform processes;
    12. Commends the overall good co-operation with the field operations and pledges to retain the same level and quality of co-operation.