New EU enlargment strategy – six specific criterias for new members to meet

In February this year, the European Commission adopted a new enlargement strategy for the countries of Western Balkans.

It is clearly said in the Strategy that new accessions are desirable, but it is required from countries that wish to join the EU to meet the given criteria. The most important among criteria in this sense is good relations with neighboring countries and fundamental reforms in the certain fields.

The Strategy also focuses on six specific areas that require improvement: rule of law, security and migration, socio-economic development, transport and energy connectivity, digital agenda, reconciliation and good neighborly relations.

Serbia and Montenegro are the only two countries from this area so far that have already began talks regarding EU accession. It is stated that it is expected from these countries to complete the process of accession until 2025.

The Strategy notes that Albania and Macedonia are making progress and Commission is therefore ready to prepare recommendations to open the negotiations. It will also start preparing an opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina membership application in the following period, but is it stated that Bosnia and Herzegovina could become a candidate for accession with enough effort and engagement. Kosovo has an opportunity for sustainable progress through implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement and to advance on its European path once objective circumstances allow.

It is said that the normalization of relationship between Kosovo and Serbia is paramount for both of these countries EU accession. The Strategy further notes that the official name dispute between Macedonia and Greece could be resolved by June this year.

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