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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.

EU takes legal action against Hungary over migrants 19 July 2018, 23:39 CET
The Commission has referred Hungary to the EU Court of Justice for non-compliance of asylum and return legislation with EU law, and sent a letter of formal notice concerning new Hungarian migrant legislation.

Ease of doing business compared for 25 European cities 04 July 2018, 18:29 CET
A new report from the World Bank Tuesday assesses the support and obstacles entrepreneurs find in setting up and expanding businesses in 25 cities in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Slovakia.

EU launches legal action over Poland's Supreme Court changes 03 July 2018, 17:52 CET
The EU Commission launched an infringement procedure against Poland Monday over changes to Polish law on the Supreme Court, which it says undermines the principle of judicial independence.

Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan 28 June 2018, 23:38 CET
The primary objective of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) initiative is to achieve an open and integrated regional electricity and gas market between EU countries in the Baltic Sea region, ending energy isolation. The initiative's members are the European Commission and Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, and Sweden. Norway participates as an observer.

Baltic states sign energy synchronisation agreement with EU 29 June 2018, 11:55 CET
The heads of state or government of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland signed a roadmap Thursday for synchronising the Baltic States' electricity grid with the continental European network by 2025.

Synchronisation of Baltic States' electricity networks with the continental European network (CEN) 28 June 2018, 22:47 CET
On 28 June, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker signed, jointly with leaders of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland a political Roadmap for synchronising the Baltic States' electricity grid with continental Europe.

Malta breaking EU law on wild birds: EU Court 22 June 2018, 00:03 CET
Malta has failed to fulfil its obligations under EU law in its adoption of a derogation regime to allow the trapping of seven species of wild birds, the European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

EU extends sanctions against Russia over Crimea 19 June 2018, 20:32 CET
EU ministers decided to extend sanctions against Russia for another year Monday, as the EU continued to punish Russia for the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sebastopol.

No fine for Gazprom as EU settles antitrust dispute 24 May 2018, 22:44 CET
The EU Commission settled its antitrust dispute with Russia's Gazprom Thursday, imposing conditions on the state-controlled energy giant to enable free flow of gas 'at competitive prices' in east European gas markets.

Summit reinforces EU links with Western Balkans 17 May 2018, 23:20 CET
A summit between leaders of the Western Balkans and the EU ended Thursday confirming the region's 'European perspective' and a strengthening of cooperation in connectivity, security and the rule of law.

Commission recommends membership talks for Albania, Macedonia 18 April 2018, 22:53 CET
The Commission's annual Enlargement Package, adopted Tuesday, recommends that the Council open accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and with Albania.

Logging in Bialowieza Forest broke law: EU Court 20 April 2018, 00:14 CET
Increasing logging operations in Poland's Białowieza Forest nature reserve infringed EU law, the European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday in a final judgement.

EU continues dialogue with Turkey over rule of law 28 March 2018, 11:54 CET
EU leaders conveyed continued concern over the rule of law in Turkey Monday, as Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined them for a wide-ranging discussion on EU-Turkey relations and the way ahead.

Russian duties on EU vans illegal, WTO confirms 23 March 2018, 23:42 CET
The WTO has dismissed Russia's appeal and upheld EU arguments in the dispute on the anti-dumping duties imposed by Russia in 2013 on imports of European light commercial vehicles (LCVs).

"Highly likely" Russia behind UK attack: EU summit 23 March 2018, 11:53 CET
At a summit in Brussels, EU leaders condemned Russia Thursday for the recent nerve agent attack in Britain, agreeing to coordinate their response "in the light of the answers provided by the Russian authorities".

Poland's Bialowieza Forest logging 'infringes EU law' 21 February 2018, 22:55 CET
It is unlawful to increase logging in Poland's Bialowieza Forest, the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice confirmed in an opinion issued Tuesday. The Court's final judgement is due in March.

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.