Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who together with several colleagues recently presented a bipartisan bill on American support to the Western Balkans, says that it is an attempt to renew the US focus on the countries of the region.
In an interview for the Voice of America for North Macedonia, she said that consolidating democracy, encouraging economic progress and combating corruption are ways to avert the harmful influence.
“This law is an attempt to renew the focus on the countries of the Western Balkans, on the importance of the continued progress of those countries towards the west, integration into the EU and fully formed democracies, and this is the essential goal of the law. Addressing corruption is an important part of that, and this proposal authorizes the Secretary of State to provide technical assistance to countries seeking assistance in addressing corruption,” Senator Shaheen said.
According to her, the USA must do everything they can to encourage Serbia to continue looking towards the West.
“One of the elements of the bill is the ability to impose sanctions against individuals and officials in the region, and I think that’s important when we think about how to deter people from engaging and cooperating with Russia or anyone else, in spreading disinformation, cyber attacks or attempts to incite ethnic divisions, because we know what happens in that case. We’ve seen that in the past,” Saheen said.
The Law on Democracy and Prosperity of the Western Balkans, which aims to support economic development and the fight against corruption, but which also foresees sanctions for those who threaten the stability of the region or are involved in corruption, has been submitted to the Congress for several months as a group of senators is involved in its production visited the region.
Explaining the initiative, Senator Shaheen stated that the relationship of the United States with the Western Balkans is of critical importance at the time of the Russian war in Ukraine, and the clear ambitions of Russian President Vladimir Putin to spread malignant influence in Eastern Europe, reminds Voice of America.
The bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Senators Richard Durbin, Chris Van Hollen, Ben Cardin and Chris Murphy and Republican Senator Tom Tillis.
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