Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home Breaking news EU candidate countries slow to reform: report

EU candidate countries slow to reform: report

EU candidate countries slow to reform: report

Oliver Varhelyi - Photo EC

(BRUSSELS) - Turkey and Western Balkan countries looking to join the EU show slow progress on rule of law, corruption, and freedom of the judiciary and the media, the Commission's enlargement review said Tuesday.

The annual reports in the Commission's Communication on EU enlargement policy and the 2020 Enlargement Package assess the implementation of fundamental reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey. They are presented with recommendations and guidance on next steps for those partners.

At the same time, the Commission has unveiled a comprehensive Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, with the aim of spurring the long-term recovery of the region, a green and digital transition, foster economic regional cooperation, boost economic growth and support reforms required to move forward on the EU path.

The enlargement report finds that progress in the area of the rule of law area remains a significant challenge, not helped sometimes by 'a lack of political will'. A slow pace in 'judicial culture' continues throughout the Western Balkans region 'without sufficient commitment to the principle of judicial independence'. The pace in the fight against corruption has slowed down with most partners still 'far from meeting the requirements for membership', while the least progress his shown in the the area of freedom of expression and media pluralism.

"Our rigorous but fair assessments presented today detail where the countries stand with the reforms, with clearer guidance and recommendations on the future steps," said the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi: "Their dynamic implementation will speed up their progress on EU path and bring long-lasting results. In parallel, we have presented an Economic and Investment plan to spur their long term recovery and accelerate their economic convergence with the EU."

The Commission's Communication "Enhancing the accession process – A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans", endorsed by Member States in March 2020, set out concrete proposals for strengthening the accession process, by making it 'more predictable, more credible, more dynamic and subject to stronger political steering'.

For the first time, the Commission assesses the overall balance in the accession negotiations with both Montenegro and Serbia and proposes the way ahead. This should allow the intergovernmental conferences, which should take place after publication of the Commission's annual package, to provide the fora for political dialogue on reforms, take stock of the overall accession process and set out the planning for the year ahead, including the opening and closing of chapters and possible corrective measures.

In the case of Albania and North Macedonia, the Commission looks forward to the first intergovernmental conferences to be convened as soon as possible after adoption of the negotiating frameworks by the Council. The Commission confirmed further progress in the implementation of reforms in Albania and North Macedonia. Albania has already made decisive progress and is close to meeting the conditions set by the Council in view of the first intergovernmental conference.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is expected to address 14 key priorities from the Commission's Opinion on its EU membership application, with only some steps taken so far. As regards Kosovo, limited progress was made on EU related reforms and it is important that Kosovo authorities redouble their efforts to advance on the European path, including through the implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.

On Turkey, the Commission emphasises that the country 'remains a key partner for the European Union'. However, it says Turkey has continued to move further away from the European Union with serious backsliding in the areas of democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights and the independence of the judiciary.

Turkey's accession negotiations have effectively come to a standstill and no further chapters are considered for opening or closing.

The report presented today confirms that the underlying facts leading to this assessment still hold, despite the government's repeated commitment to the objective of EU accession.

The reports also outlines how Turkey's foreign policy increasingly collided with the EU priorities under the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Commission's Communication.

Key findings of the 2020 Report on North Macedonia.

Key findings of the 2020 Report on Albania.

Key findings of the 2020 Report on Kosovo.

Key findings of the 2020 Report on Montenegro

Key findings on the 2020 Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina

Key findings of the 2020 Report on Serbia

Key findings of the 2020 Report on North Macedonia

Key findings of the 2020 Report on Turkey

Document Actions