|Author (Corporate)||European Commission|
|Series Details||(2018) 450 final (17.04.18)|
The European Commission adopted on 17 April 2018 its annual Enlargement Package, including seven individual reports, assessing the implementation of the European Union's enlargement policy which is based on established criteria and rigorous conditionality. For the first time together with the Enlargement Package, the Commission also published its annual assessments of the Economic Reform Programmes for the Western Balkans and Turkey.
The Commission recommended the adoption of a Council Decision on the opening of accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM or FYR Macedonia) and Albania, in light of the progress achieved, maintaining and deepening the current reform momentum. Regarding Turkey, while the Commission recognises the need for swight and proportionate action in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in July 2016, it has also been considered that the country has been significantly moving away from the European Union, in particular in the areas of the rule of law and fundamental rights and through the weakening of effective checks and balances in the political system.
The Communication takes stock of progress in the implementation of enlargement policy by the end of January 2018 and encourages the countries concerned to keep up their modernisation through political and economic reforms, in line with the accession criteria.
The existing enlargement agenda covers the partners of the Western Balkans and Turkey. Accession negotiations were opened with candidate countries Montenegro (2012), Serbia (2014), Turkey (2005). The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia became a candidate country in 2005 and Albania obtained candidate status in 2014. Bosnia and Herzegovina (application to join the EU submitted in February 2016) and Kosovo (Stabilisation and Association Agreement entered into force in April 2016) were seen as potential candidates.
In February 2018, the European Commission reaffirmed the prospect of EU membership for the Western Balkans in its Communication on 'A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans'. Regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations were highlighted as essential for progress on the respective European paths.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Southeastern Europe, Turkey|