MEPs call for inquiry into EU Enlargement Commissioner

The European Parliament on Wednesday (January 19) called for an investigation into whether EU Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi breached the EU executive’s code of conduct.

MEPs have asked the European Commission to launch ” an independent and impartial investigation to determine whether the conduct and policies implemented byMr. Várhelyi violated the Code of leadership of the EU executive and its obligations under the EU Treaties. This request comes in the context of a report by the European Parliament on the Union’s foreign affairs and security.

Olivér Várhelyi, a Hungarian national, is a close ally of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. At the European Commission, he is responsible for relations with the EU’s neighborhood and oversees EU accession negotiations.

In the amendment, backed mainly by Socialists, MEPs accuse Mr Várhelyi of having “deliberately evaded and weakened the essential character of democratic reforms and the rule of law in the countries on the way to joining the European Union“.

Despite formally seeking to join the EU, Serbia has repeatedly ignored calls to align its foreign policy with that of the EU, including on sanctions.

MEPs also expressed concern over Mr Várhelyi’s attitude towards Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who is accused of stirring up nationalist sentiment and seeking to unite the mini Serbian state with Serbia of Bosnia which he leads.

MEPs also renewed their calls for sanctions against him and others responsible for organizing an “unconstitutionalRepublika Srpskaon January 9.

Thijs Reuten, a centre-left Dutch MEP who helped draft Parliament’s report, said that the “role of the Commission is to protect the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to promote democracy in Serbia and to guarantee peace and stability in Montenegro and Kosovo — and not the other way around“.

Support the nationalist and separatist positions of [Milorad] Dodik would not only be contrary to the code of conduct for members of the European Commission, but would also be playing with fireadded Mr. Reuten.

Asked by reporters about the report on Wednesday, the European Commission declined to comment further.

Enlargement policy is not in the hands of a Commissioner, but of the College of Commissioners, which takes decisions and assesses the situation of countries wishing to join“, replied Wednesday the spokesperson for the European Commission, Eric Mamer.

The EU enlargement process has been revived after almost a decade of stagnation, largely as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the changing geopolitical landscape today.

For the EU, enlargement is no longer a one-way street

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the changing geopolitical landscape have made it clear that the EU’s strategic interest in a stable and secure environment in its immediate neighborhood must go beyond the question of who will be the next member.

[Édité par Anne-Sophie Gayet]

MEPs call for inquiry into EU Enlargement Commissioner