2019 Communication on EU Enlargement Policy

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2019) 260
Publication Date 29/05/2019
Content Type

Summary:

Communication presented on 29 May 2019 by the European Commission which takes stock of progress in the implementation of the EU's enlargement policy up to the end of February 2019.

Further information:

This annual assessment presents the progress made in the implementation of reforms in the Western Balkans countries and Turkey - aspiring Member States of the European Union - together with recommendations on the next steps for those countries.

The European Commission notes that partner countries in the Western Balkans made concrete progress and demonstrated commitment to the European perspective, even if the overall uptake of reforms varies. In light of the significant progress achieved and the relevant conditions being met, the Commission recommends that the Council of the European Union opens accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. The Commission also issued its Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina's application for membership of the European Union.

This assessment also highlights that Turkey continued to move further away from the European Union, with what was seen as serious backsliding in the areas of the rule of law and fundamental rights and through the weakening of effective checks and balances in the political system, brought forward by the entry into force of the constitutional amendment. The previous assessment on progress of Turkey's accession negotiations and underlying reasons still stand.

Individual country reports:

On 18 June, the Council of the European Union adopted a set of conclusions relating to this Communication and the recommendations published in the country reports. While good note was taken of the Commission's recommendation to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, it was also argued that limited time availability and the relevance of the matter did not allow for an immediate follow-up decision.

Source Link https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM:2019:260:FIN
Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
EurActiv, 24/05/2019: Macron and the EU enlargement make-believe https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/opinion/macron-and-the-eu-enlargement-make-believe/
Balkan Insight, 24/05/2019: How to Understand France’s ‘Bad Cop’ Role in the Balkans https://balkaninsight.com/2019/05/24/how-to-understand-frances-bad-cop-role-in-the-balkans/
The Economist, 13/06/2019: The EU must keep its promise to North Macedonia https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/06/13/the-eu-must-keep-its-promise-to-north-macedonia
LSE: EUROPP Blog, 17/06/2019: What the Commission’s 2019 country reports say about national parliaments in the Western Balkans https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2019/06/17/what-the-commissions-2019-country-reports-say-about-national-parliaments-in-the-western-balkans/
EurActiv, 17/06/2019: Will Brussels turn its back – again – on the Balkans? https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/opinion/will-brussels-turn-its-back-again-on-the-balkans/
EurActiv, 24/06/2019: Let’s set things straight: Accession talks do not equate EU membership promise https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/opinion/lets-set-things-straight-accession-talks-do-not-equate-eu-membership-promise/
Balkan Insight, 25/06/2019: EU Policy of ‘Containing’ Balkans is Dangerous Illusion https://balkaninsight.com/2019/06/25/eu-policy-of-containing-balkans-is-dangerous-illusion/

News
EurActiv, 28/05/2019: Albania’s riotous politics rattle EU dreams https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/albanias-riotous-politics-rattle-eu-dreams/
Deutsche Welle, 29/05/2019: Turkish democracy 'backsliding,' EU says in membership report https://p.dw.com/p/3JSHQ
Cyprus Mail, 29/05/2019: EU report on Turkey ‘most critical’ since 2005 https://cyprus-mail.com/2019/05/29/eu-takes-turkey-to-task-over-cyprus-in-progress-report/
Hürriyet Daily News, 29/05/2019: Turkey rejects ‘EU’s unjust criticism’ http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-rejects-eus-unjust-criticism-143814
Reuters, 29/05/2019: 'Backsliding' Turkey's EU bid slips further away: Commission https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN1SZ1P2
EurActiv, 29/05/2019: Commission: Turkey has continued to move away from the EU https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/commission-turkey-has-continued-to-move-away-from-the-eu/
Politico, 29/05/2019: EU should start membership talks with Albania, North Macedonia: Commission https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-european-union-should-start-membership-talks-with-albania-north-macedonia-commission/
EurActiv, 29/05/2019: Commission recommends opening accession talks with Albania, North Macedonia https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/commission-recommends-opening-accession-talks-with-albania-north-macedonia/
Deutsche Welle, 29/05/2019: EU urged to open more doors to Albania, North Macedonia https://p.dw.com/p/3JT47
Euronews, 29/05/2019: EU membership talks should start with North Macedonia and Albania, says Mogherini https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/29/eu-membership-talks-should-start-with-north-macedonia-and-albania-says-mogherini
Balkan Insight, 29/05/2019: EC Recommends Accession Talks With Albania, North Macedonia https://balkaninsight.com/2019/05/29/ec-recommends-accession-talks-with-albania-north-macedonia/
RFE/RL, 29/05/2019: EU Commission Calls For Start Of North Macedonia, Albania Accession Talks https://www.rferl.org/a/eu-commission-calls-for-start-of-north-macedonia-albania-accession-talks/29970623.html
Politico, 30/05/2019: Brussels tries new Balkan push https://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-balkan-eu-enlargement-new-push/
BBC News, 30/05/2019: EU sees progress in Albania and N Macedonia membership bids https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48457542
France24, 12/06/2019: EU tells Tirana, Skopje membership will have to wait https://www.france24.com/en/20190612-eu-tells-tirana-skopje-membership-will-have-wait
EUObserver, 12/06/2019: EU split on Western Balkans accession https://euobserver.com/enlargement/145128
Anadolu Agency, 12/06/2019: EU faces disagreements on enlargement policy https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/eu-faces-disagreements-on-enlargement-policy/1502354
Balkan Insight, 13/06/2019: Merkel Reassures North Macedonia on EU Talks https://balkaninsight.com/2019/06/13/merkel-reassures-north-macedonia-on-eu-talks/
Politico, 14/06/2019: The EU’s big Balkan botch-up https://www.politico.eu/article/north-macedonia-albania-european-union-enlargement-member-state-tusk-juncker/
EurActiv, 14/06/2019: North Macedonia president: We need date for EU talks before autumn https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/interview/north-macedonia-president-we-need-date-for-eu-talks-before-autumn/
EUObserver, 14/06/2019: EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia https://euobserver.com/enlargement/145155
Kathimerini, 14/06/2019: North Macedonia president warns against delaying EU accession talks http://www.ekathimerini.com/241585/article/ekathimerini/news/north-macedonia-president-warns-against-delaying-eu-accession-talks
Reuters, 14/06/2019: Macedonia on track for EU accession talks but not Albania: diplomats https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN1TF21J
EurActiv, 17/06/2019: North Macedonia nears accession talks, Albania falling behind https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/north-macedonia-nears-accession-talks-albania-falling-behind/
Kathimerini, 17/06/2019: Mogherini urges EU to open accession talks with North Macedonia, Albania http://www.ekathimerini.com/241637/article/ekathimerini/news/mogherini-urges-eu-to-open-accession-talks-with-north-macedonia-albania
Politico, 18/06/2019: EU keeps Albania, North Macedonia waiting on membership talks https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-albania-north-macedonia-membership-talks/
Reuters, 18/06/2019: EU delays decision on membership talks with Albania, North Macedonia https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN1TJ133
Deutsche Welle, 18/06/2019: EU delays accession talks with N. Macedonia and Albania https://p.dw.com/p/3KepT
France24, 18/06/2019: Courts, cannabis, corruption: Albania struggles against old demons https://www.france24.com/en/20190618-courts-cannabis-corruption-albania-struggles-against-old-demons
Balkan Insight, 18/06/2019: Balkan Hopefuls Await European Council Decision on Talks https://balkaninsight.com/2019/06/18/balkan-hopefuls-await-european-council-decision-on-talks/
EurActiv, 19/06/2019: Divided Europe deals major blow to North Macedonia’s EU accession hopes https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/divided-europe-deals-major-blow-to-north-macedonias-eu-accession-hopes/
EUObserver, 19/06/2019: EU keeps North Macedonia and Albania at arm's length https://euobserver.com/foreign/145195
Hungary Today, 19/06/2019: Foreign Minister: ‘Shameful Tactical Games’ to Postpone Albania, North Macedonia Accession Talks https://hungarytoday.hu/hungary-eu-interests-balkans-albania-macedonia-accession/
Total Croatia News, 19/06/2019: Croatia Regrets Lack of Support for Opening EU Talks with North Macedonia, Albania https://www.total-croatia-news.com/politics/36622-north-macedonia
The Sofia Globe, 19/06/2019: Bulgaria ‘regrets’ EU ministers’ delay on decision on accession talks with North Macedonia, Albania https://sofiaglobe.com/2019/06/19/bulgaria-regrets-eu-ministers-delay-on-decision-on-accession-talks-with-north-macedonia-albania/
LSM.lv, 19/06/2019: Latvia backs EU path for Albania, North Macedonia https://eng.lsm.lv/article/politics/diplomacy/latvia-backs-eu-path-for-albania-north-macedonia.a322932/
Euronews, 21/06/2019: EU accused of betraying promises on Albanian accession https://www.euronews.com/2019/06/20/eu-accused-of-betraying-promises-on-albanian-accession
Hungary Today, 25/06/2019: Szijjártó: North Macedonia’s EU Integration European Interest https://hungarytoday.hu/szijjarto-north-macedonias-eu-integration-european-interest/

Official
European Commission: Press Release, 29/05/2019: Reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey: annual assessments and recommendations http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2752_en.htm
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 18/06/2019: Council conclusions on enlargement and stabilisation and association process https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/06/18/council-conclusions-on-enlargement-and-stabilisation-and-association-process/

ESO Records
Communication on a ‘credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans’ [February 2018] https://www.europeansources.info/record/communication-on-a-credible-enlargement-perspective-for-and-enhanced-eu-engagement-with-the-western-balkans/

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