A more credible, dynamic, predictable and political EU accession process – Commission lays out its proposals

skopje

Skopje, North Macedonia (Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the European Commission put forward a proposal to drive forward the EU accession process, by making it more credible, with a stronger political steer, more dynamic and predictable.

Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, commented: “The European Union enlargement to the Western Balkans is a top priority for the Commission. We are working on three tracks: Firstly, today we propose concrete steps on how to enhance the accession process. While we are strengthening and improving the process, the goal remains accession and full EU membership. Secondly, and in parallel, the Commission stands firmly by its recommendations to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania and will soon provide an update on the progress made by these two countries. Thirdly, in preparation of the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb in May, the Commission will come forward with an economic and investment development plan for the region.”

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

A more credible process: The accession process needs to build on trust, mutual confidence and clear commitments by the European Union and the Western Balkans. Credibility should be reinforced through an even stronger focus on fundamental reforms, starting with the rule of law, the functioning of democratic institutions and public administration as well as the economy of the candidate countries. When partner countries meet the objective criteria, the Member States shall agree to move forward to the next stage of the process, respecting the merits-based approach.

A stronger political steer: The political nature of the accession process requires a stronger political steer and engagement at the highest levels. The Commission proposes to increase the opportunities for high level political and policy dialogue, through regular EU-Western Balkans summits and intensified ministerial contacts. Moreover, Member States should be involved more systematically in monitoring and reviewing the process. All bodies under Stabilisation and Association Agreement will focus much more on the key political issues and reforms, while Inter-Governmental Conferences will provide stronger political steering for the negotiations.

A more dynamic process: To inject further dynamism into the negotiating process, the Commission proposes to group the negotiating chapters in six thematic clusters: fundamentals; internal market; competitiveness and inclusive growth; green agenda and sustainable connectivity; resources, agriculture and cohesion; external relations. Negotiations on each cluster will be open as a whole – after fulfilling the opening benchmarks – rather than on an individual chapter basis. Negotiations on the fundamentals will be open first and closed last and the progress on these will determine the overall pace of negotiations. The timeframe between opening a cluster and closing the individual chapters should be limited, preferably within a year fully dependant on the progress of the reforms.

A more predictable process: The Commission will provide greater clarity on what the EU expects of enlargement countries at the different stages of the process. It will make clearer what the positive consequences progress on reforms can bring, and what will the negative consequences will be when there is no progress.

To encourage demanding reforms, the Commission will better define the conditions set for candidates to progress and will provide clear and tangible incentives of direct interest to citizens. Incentives could include accelerated integration and “phasing-in” to individual EU policies, the EU market and EU programmes – while ensuring a level playing field – as well as increased funding and investments. The more candidates advance in their reforms, the more they will advance in the process. Equally, the Commission proposes more decisive measures proportionally sanctioning any serious or prolonged stagnation or backsliding in reform implementation and meeting the requirements of accession process. Negotiations could be put on hold in certain areas, or in the most serious cases, suspended overall, and already closed chapters could be re-opened; benefits of closer integration, like access to EU programmes, could be paused or withdrawn, and the scope and intensity of EU funding could be adjusted downward.

Next steps

The Commission hopes the Member States will endorse the proposal, in parallel with the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, ahead of the European Union-Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb on 6-7 May. For the summit the Commission will consider how to bring forward investment, socio- economic integration and the rule of law for the Western Balkans region.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU budget: Stepping up the EU’s role as a security and defence provider

Statement by President von der Leyen on recent developments related to Iran and Iraq

The energy industry is changing. Are governments switched on?

Myanmar military leaders must face genocide charges – UN report

The MH17 tragedy to put a tombstone on Ukrainian civil war

Climate change and health: Raising awareness is the key for greener actions

We have a space debris problem. Here’s how to solve it

The US reject EU proposal for prudential financial controls

The EU has to prove it can remain one piece

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

The EU Commission openly repudiates the austere economic policies

Drones, disinfectant, distancing – Europe’s beaches open up

Unemployment worries spike around the world as coronavirus remains top global concern

The European Commission cuts roaming charges. But “it’s not enough”…

Post the pandemic: keeping our worlds turning

These rules could save humanity from the threat of rogue AI

Unemployment is down across the world’s largest economies

COVID-19: EU co-finances the delivery of more protective equipment to China

Global leaders and companies pledge to reduce the gender pay gap by 2030

Climate change: new rules agreed to determine which investments are green

The EU’s Response to COVID-19

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into joint ventures proposed by Boeing and Embraer

4 things ISPs can do to reduce the impact of cybercrime

Implementation of EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: EU mobilises €663 million in humanitarian assistance

Palestine refugee crisis ‘expanding’; leaving highest number at risk this century across Gaza

European Commission requests that Italy presents a revised draft budgetary plan for 2019

ECB’s new money bonanza handed out to help the real economy or create new bubbles?

From ‘dead on the inside’ to ‘truly alive’: Survivor of genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda recounts her story as UN marks 25th anniversary

On Youth Participation: Are we active citizens?

Huge data gaps’ hampering ‘evidence-based’ national migration policies

COP24: A million lives could be saved by 2050 through climate action, UN health agency reveals

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

EU Commission indifferent on Court of Auditors’ recommendations

First-ever global conference of national counter-terrorism chiefs will strengthen cooperation, build ‘resilient’ States, says top UN official

COVID-19 tracing apps: MEPs stress the need to preserve citizens’ privacy

Almost there: Equal healthcare for LGBTQI+

Palestine refugees’ relief chief warns Security Council money to fund Gaza operations will run out in mid-June

We must learn and change after Haiti sexual abuse scandal -Oxfam chief

Online radio and news broadcasts: Parliament and Council reach deal

Health is nothing but the main consequence of climate change

Marco Polo’s Dream

Rural Bangladesh has already embraced renewable energy. Here’s what the rest of the world can learn

Europe plans to send satellites into space to monitor CO2 emissions

US now has most coronavirus cases in the world – Today’s coronavirus updates

UN chief lauds Fijians as ‘natural global leaders’ on climate, environment, hails ‘symbiotic relationship’ with land and sea

The 28 EU leaders care more about fiscal orthodoxy than effectively fighting youth unemployment

Lagarde: Keep feeding the banks cut down wages and food subsidies

Recognizing, protecting and empowering youth rights in Europe and the world

Should Europe be afraid of the developing world?

Most fish consumers support a ban on fishing endangered species, poll finds

New rules allow EU consumers to defend their rights collectively

The Great Reset needs great leaders to help the most vulnerable

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

EU job-search aid worth €9.9 million for 1,858 former Air France workers

From Model T to EV: a short history of motor vehicle manufacturing

African elephants under continued threat of poaching, warns UN-backed report

This Dutch company has devised an innovative way to deal with food waste

Quicker freezing and confiscation of criminal assets in the EU

Euro celebrates its 20th birthday

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s