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Eastern & Central Europe

Latest news about eastern and central Europe and EU enlargement. Since it was founded in 1958, the EU has regularly accepted new member countries. Each applicant country must meet certain requirements before membership is permitted. Regular enlargements have seen the EU grow from its original 6 founding members to 28 in 2013. Any country that satisfies the conditions for enlargement can apply to be a candidate. The European Commission, at the request of the European Council, assesses the applicant’s ability to meet the conditions of membership. If the opinion is positive and the Council agrees a negotiating mandate, discussions are formally opened between the applicant and the EU. At the start of 2013, five countries had been accepted as EU candidate countries: Iceland, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo (under UN Security Resolution 1244) have the status of potential candidates.

MEPs call on Turkey to lift state of emergency, denounce arrests 08 February 2018, 18:30 CET
MEPs denounced Thursday the arrests by the Turkish government as it attempts to censor criticism over its military assault of Afrin, and expressed serious concern about its humanitarian consequences.

EU enlargement door opens for Western Balkans 06 February 2018, 18:14 CET
The EU Commission set out a new strategy for the Western Balkans Tuesday, spelling out priorities and areas for closer cooperation, and areas for reform with a view to 'a credible enlargement perspective'.

Western Balkans: a credible enlargement perspective 06 February 2018, 17:59 CET
The European Commission adopted on 6 February a strategy for 'A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans'.

Priority dossiers under the Bulgarian EU Council Presidency 19 January 2018, 00:42 CET
Bulgaria will hold the EU Council Presidency from January to June 2018. Its Presidency is part of the Trio Presidency composed of Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria. This will be the first time Bulgaria has held the rotating presidency since it joined the EU in 2007.

Preliminary results of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 03 January 2018, 18:15 CET
The Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU worked with a total of 377 drafts, including legislative initiatives, strategies and communications, Estonia also brought new topics to the agenda.

Bulgaria EU presidency promises unity in face of Brexit 09 January 2018, 23:20 CET
"United We Stay Strong" is the motto of Bulgaria's presidency of the EU Council, which began 1 January 2018, and underlined the EU's focus on solidarity as pivotal to the EU's future in the face of Brexit.

EU begins action against Poland over independence of judiciary 24 December 2017, 12:57 CET
Despite repeated efforts to engage with Polish authorities over judicial independence, the European Commission concluded Wednesday that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law in Poland.

Rule of Law in Poland - background guide 20 December 2017, 17:31 CET
Despite repeated efforts, for almost two years, to engage the Polish authorities in a constructive dialogue in the context of the Rule of Law Framework, the Commission has today concluded that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law in Poland.

Illegal Bialowieza logging could cost Poland EUR 100,000 a day 22 November 2017, 00:01 CET
Poland will have to pay a EUR 100,000 penalty per day if it continues banned logging activities in the EU-protected Bialowieza Forest, one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe, the EU's top court has ruled.

EU Parliament warns Poland on rule of law 16 November 2017, 23:29 CET
Poland is at "clear risk of a serious breach" of European values, including the rule of law, enshrined in the EU Treaty, MEPs said on Wednesday, warning of possible suspension of Poland's EU voting rights.

Cooperation and Verification Mechanism Reports on Bulgaria and Romania 17 November 2017, 12:01 CET
The European Commission issued today its latest reports on steps taken by Bulgaria and Romania to meet their commitments on judicial reform and the fight against corruption, and in the case of Bulgaria organised crime, in the context of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) set up when the countries joined the European Union in 2007.

More progress needed on Romania, Bulgaria reform 15 November 2017, 23:28 CET
Romania and Bulgaria have still more progress to make in judicial reform and the fight against corruption, according to the EU's latest Cooperation and Verification Mechanism Reports on the countries.

New EU gas rules could staunch Russian pipeline 10 November 2017, 00:05 CET
Changes to the Gas Directive proposed Wednesday to ensure that all major gas pipelines entering EU territory comply with EU rules could prove an obstacle to the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 project.

EU top Court affirms freedom of establishment 26 October 2017, 00:12 CET
An EU Member State cannot impose mandatory liquidation on firms that transfer their registered office to another state, the European Court of Justice affirms in a ruling upholding freedom of establishment under EU law.

EU strengthens sanctions against North Korea 14 September 2017, 18:05 CET
EU ministers strengthened restrictive measures against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Thursday, and prolonged sanctions over actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Gas-sharing move to secure EU gas supply 13 September 2017, 18:00 CET
Any EU member state facing an urgent gas shortage will be able to trigger cross-border assistance from its neighbours under new cooperation rules approved by the European Parliament Tuesday.

EU launches legal action against Poland over new law 01 August 2017, 12:08 CET
The European Union launched legal action against Poland Saturday following the publication in the Polish Official Journal of a new law it has warned threatens the independence of the judiciary..

EU tightens pressure on Poland over rule of law 26 July 2017, 18:42 CET
The European Commission substantiated its grave concerns on a planned reform of the judiciary in Poland Wednesday in a Rule of Law Recommendation addressed to the Polish authorities.

EU warns Poland over independence of judiciary 20 July 2017, 23:44 CET
The European Commission expressed grave concern Wednesday about the clear risks for the independence of the judiciary in Poland and urges the Polish Government to put its new laws on hold

Tusk cements EU-Ukraine partnership, urges unity 13 July 2017, 21:56 CET
The EU cemented its partnership with Ukraine at a summit Thursday, as Council president Donald Tusk urged the country to keep 'your unity at any cost, and avoid like the plague internal conflicts.'

Western Balkans: Regional Economic Area 13 July 2017, 14:09 CET
The 2017 Western Balkans Summit in Trieste, Italy on 12 July 2017 discussed concrete avenues to strengthen regional cooperation and thus further advance the EU integration process of the Western Balkans. The Western Balkan partners agreed on an action plan to develop a Regional Economic Area aimed at boosting the attractiveness of the region to encourage investment and generate jobs, especially through smart growth, start-ups and scale-ups.

Tiny Estonia takes over EU presidency 03 July 2017, 23:59 CET
Estonia's first EU presidency began on 1 July with a focus on an innovative European economy, safety and security, digital Europe and free movement of data, and an inclusive and sustainable Europe.

Priorities of the Estonian presidency of the European Council 03 July 2017, 17:01 CET
The motto of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is 'Unity through balance'. "We believe that Europe has plenty of common ground to come together to successfully tackle all the challenges and make the most of all the possibilities that face us today. We must facilitate openness in both our economy and society, while also ensuring safety and security. Our role is to find a balance between the different views, traditions and interests in Europe today to achieve the best possible outcome for European citizens." The four priorities of the Estonian Presidency are:

EU extends sanctions on Russia for another six months 28 June 2017, 22:53 CET
The EU Council agreed a formal extension of economic sanctions on Russia Wednesday, targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy Wednesday, until 31 January 2018.

Brussels seeks mandate to negotiate with Russia on Nord Stream 2 12 June 2017, 00:32 CET
The European Commission asked EU Member States Friday for a mandate to negotiate with the Russia the key principles for the operation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.