Enhancing the accession process – A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2020) 57
Publication Date 05/02/2020
Content Type

Summary:

Communication published by the European Commission on 6 February 2020, which reviews the European Union's accession methodology to prepare for a future EU enlargement to the Western Balkans region.

Further information:

The European Union has long supported the aspirations of the Western Balkans regions in joining the Union - this was already made explicit by the European Council in 2000 and 2003. The general commitment to enlargement was also reaffirmed by the European Council in 2006, and again by the Council of the European Union in June 2019. However, there was a parallel understanding within the Council that it would be useful to assess the effectiveness of the accession negotiation process ahead of a new enlargement.

This Communication sets out the European Commission’s vision for strengthening the whole accession process. The overall aim is to enhance credibility and trust on both sides and yield better results on the ground. The proposed changes can be accommodated within existing negotiating frameworks, ensuring a level playing field in the region (which means that ongoing accession frameworks would not be amended).

This review of the accession process was triggered as a result of the opposition by some Member States to launching EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in 2019.

Source Link https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM:2020:57:FIN
Alternative sources
  • https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/enlargement-methodology_en.pdf
Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
Politico, 12/11/2019: North Macedonia’s post-Macron melancholy https://www.politico.eu/article/north-macedonia-eu-accession-post-emmanuel-macron-melancholy/
ECFR: Commentary, 11/12/2019: French connections: How to revitalise the EU enlargement process https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_french_connections_how_to_revitalise_the_eu_enlargement_process
ECFR: Commentary, 07/01/2020: The power of perspective: Why EU membership still matters in the Western Balkans https://www.ecfr.eu/publications/summary/the_power_of_perspective_why_eu_membership_still_matters_in_western_balkans
Balkan Insight, 21/01/2020: EU Has Turned Enlargement into a Hamster Wheel https://balkaninsight.com/2020/01/21/eu-has-turned-enlargement-into-a-hamster-wheel/
France24: Talking Europe, 27/01/2020: Joining the club – or not? Balkan states seek a 'European perspective' https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20200127-talking-europe-eu-enlargement-western-balkans-albania-north-macedonia
Reuters: Factbox, 04/02/2020: Six Balkan hopefuls aspire to join the EU https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN1ZY19T
Politico, 05/02/2020: EU’s new enlargement plan faces French test https://www.politico.eu/article/eus-new-enlargement-plan-faces-french-test/
CEPS: In Brief, 12/02/2020: A credible new accession methodology or just a face-saving exercise? https://www.ceps.eu/a-credible-new-accession-methodology-or-just-a-face-saving-exercise/
EPRS: Briefing, March 2020: A new approach to EU enlargement https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2020)649332

News
Politico, 08/11/2019: Von der Leyen: EU path for Western Balkans is of ‘great strategic importance’ https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-path-for-western-balkans-is-of-great-strategic-importance-ursula-von-der-leyen/
Politico, 17/11/2019: France outlines proposal to overhaul EU accession process https://www.politico.eu/article/france-outlines-proposal-to-overhaul-eu-accession-process/
Politico, 19/11/2019: 6 countries write to Juncker to support EU enlargement reform https://www.politico.eu/article/6-countries-write-to-juncker-to-support-eu-enlargement-reform/
Politico, 13/12/2019: 9 EU countries push back on French enlargement revamp https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-enlargement-reform-pushback/
Euronews, 10/01/2020: Von der Leyen: EU must keep promises to Albania and North Macedonia on accession https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/10/croatian-eu-presidency-could-open-path-towards-enlargement
Politico, 27/01/2020: Merkel: Albania, North Macedonia should get green light for EU talks in March https://www.politico.eu/article/merkel-albania-north-macedonia-should-get-eu-talks-new-member-state/
Hürriyet Daily News, 28/01/2020: Ankara urges EU to reconsider its enlargement policy https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ankara-urges-eu-to-reconsider-its-enlargement-policy-151470
Politico, 03/02/2020: France signals support for new EU enlargement plan https://www.politico.eu/article/france-signals-support-for-new-eu-enlargement-plan/
Bloomberg, 04/02/2020: EU Seeks to Appease Macron With Plan to Tighten Accession Rules https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-04/eu-seeks-to-appease-macron-with-enlargement-future-course-plans
The Wall Street Journal, 04/02/2020: EU Reluctance Unsettles Western Balkans’ Search for Secure Future https://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-reluctance-unsettles-western-balkans-search-for-secure-future-11580836603
Politico, 04/02/2020: Brussels puts French accent on EU enlargement https://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-tries-to-give-eu-european-union-enlargement-a-french-accent-north-macedonia-albania-emmanuel-macron-angela-merkel/
EurActiv, 05/02/2020: EU set to modify member accession method to placate France https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/eu-set-to-modify-member-accession-method-to-placate-france/
RFE/RL, 05/02/2020: EU Proposes Greater Role For Member States In Enlargement Process https://www.rferl.org/a/eu-proposes-greater-role-for-member-states-in-enlargement-process/30417114.html
EurActiv, 05/02/2020: Commission tries to breathe new life into EU enlargement https://www.euractiv.com/section/all/news/commission-tries-to-breathe-new-life-into-eu-enlargement/
Reuters, 05/02/2020: French change of tone boosts Balkan states' hopes of joining EU https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN1ZZ1JY
RFE/RL, 05/02/2020: North Macedonia, Albania Welcome Proposed Changes To EU Accession Process https://www.rferl.org/a/north-macedonia-albania-welcome-proposed-changes-to-eu-accession-process/30418999.html
EUObserver, 05/02/2020: EU member states could get bigger role in enlargement https://euobserver.com/enlargement/147375
Balkan Insight, 05/02/2020: European Commission Unveils Revised Enlargement Strategy https://balkaninsight.com/2020/02/05/european-commission-unveils-revised-enlargement-strategy/
The Guardian, 05/02/2020: EU focuses on enlargement into Balkans after Brexit https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/05/eu-to-focus-on-balkan-nations-enlargement-after-brexit
The Brussels Times, 05/02/2020: European Commission proposes new EU-accession process https://www.brusselstimes.com/all-news/93644/european-commission-proposes-new-accession-process/
EurActiv, 07/02/2020: Commission vows to strengthen ties with the Western Balkans https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/commission-vows-to-strengthen-ties-with-the-western-balkans/

Official
European Commission: Press Release, 05/02/2020: A more credible, dynamic, predictable and political EU accession process - Commission lays out its proposals https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_181
European Commission: Revised enlargement methodology: Questions and Answers (5 February 2020) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_182
European Commission: Remarks by Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi at the press conference on the revised enlargement methodology (5 February 2020) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_20_208

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