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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.

No EU money for gov'ts who undermine EU values, say MEPs 23 October 2021, 23:23 CET
EU money should be withheld from governments who 'flagrantly' undermine EU values, the European Parliament said Thursday, as MEPs condemned Poland for undermining the primacy of EU law.

Euro-Parliament's Sakharov Prize goes to Alexei Navalny 21 October 2021, 18:45 CET
The European Parliament on Wednesday awarded Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny the European Parliament’s 2021 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Early childhood education and care and the Covid-19 pandemic - Understanding and managing the impact of the crisis on the sector 05 October 2021, 17:54 CET
Participation in high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) is essential for the personal development, social integration, successful lifelong learning and later employability of all children. This is why it is so important to improve the quality and effectiveness of ECEC systems across Europe. This report describes how the pandemic was handled in the ECEC sector across Europe.

EU seeks financial penalties for Poland over judiciary reforms 09 September 2021, 17:04 CET
The EU Commission sought fines for Poland at the European Court of Justice Tuesday to ensure compliance with two key rulings last July aimed at protecting the independence of Polish judges.

EU imposes sanctions on Belarus over 'violent repression' 22 June 2021, 20:57 CET
The EU imposed a new set of sanctions on Belarus Monday over the country's enduring repression and the forced landing of a Ryanair flight and detention of journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega.

EU supports Belarus democracy with EUR 3 bn finance package 01 June 2021, 22:19 CET
The EU Commission outlined Friday a plan of economic support to a future democratic Belarus, reflecting EU commitment to support the Belarusian people's wishes for a peaceful democratic transition.

EU agrees sanctions over Belarus 'international scandal' 26 May 2021, 18:19 CET
EU leaders at a two-day summit Tuesday strongly condemned the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk and the detention by Belarus authorities of journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega.

EU takes Poland to court over independence of judiciary 12 April 2021, 21:54 CET
The EU Commission referred Poland to the European Court of Justice Wednesday over a law which it says undermines the independence of Polish judges and is incompatible with the primacy of EU law.

EU sanctions target human rights violations in China, Russia, Myanmar 25 March 2021, 18:20 CET
EU foreign ministers imposed sanctions Monday on individuals responsible for serious human rights violations in China and Russia, as well as officials responsible for the military coup in Myanmar.

EU agrees sanctions against Russia over Navalny 24 February 2021, 23:40 CET
Russia is drifting towards an authoritarian state and away from Europe, EU foreign affairs ministers said Monday, agreeing sanctions in response to the detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Brussels takes next step in rule of law action against Poland 28 January 2021, 00:23 CET
The European Commission sent an additional reasoned opinion to Poland on Wednesday as it steps up its legal action to safeguard the independence of the judiciary in Poland.

Euro-Parliament awards 2020 Sakharov Prize to Belarus opposition 23 October 2020, 00:32 CET
The European Parliament awarded its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought Thursday to the democratic opposition in Belarus - in a political crisis since the disputed 9 August presidential elections.

EU imposes sanctions on Russian officials for Navalny poisoning 16 October 2020, 21:22 CET
The EU imposed sanctions Thursday against six Russian officials involved in the assassination attempt on Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, poisoned in Russia with a Novichok toxic nerve agent.

Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans 07 October 2020, 00:13 CET
The European Commission adopted on 6 October a comprehensive Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, which aims to spur the long-term economic recovery of the region, support a green and digital transition, foster regional integration and convergence with the European Union.

EU candidate countries slow to reform: report 06 October 2020, 22:13 CET
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.

EU summit agrees sanctions against Belarus regime 06 October 2020, 22:14 CET
EU leaders at a summit Friday agreed to impose sanctions on the Belarus regime, calling for an end to violence and repression and for new free and fair elections without external interference.

Poland, Hungary under rule of law spotlight 01 October 2020, 18:28 CET
Europe faces important challenges to the rule of law, an EU-wide report published Wednesday by the Commission shows, highlighting the threat to Poland's judicial independence and corruption in Hungary.

EU set to impose sanctions on Belarus for unfair elections 21 August 2020, 00:00 CET
Following a European Council video conference Wednesday, EU leaders made clear they did not recognise election results presented by the Belarus authorities, which did not meet international standards.

European culture capitals offered extensions 21 August 2020, 00:00 CET
Croatian city Rijeka and Galway in Ireland could extend their year as 2020 European Capitals of Culture until 30 April 2021, because of the effects of the coronavirus crisis, the Commission announced Tuesday.

Poland: "overwhelming evidence" of rule of law breaches, say MEPs 17 July 2020, 00:04 CET
After Poland's right-wing presidency retained power last weekend, an EU Parliament committee accused it Thursday of backsliding on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.

Euro candidates still to meet EU convergence demands 11 June 2020, 23:00 CET
The European Commission published the 2020 convergence report Wednesday, in which it provides its assessment of the progress non-euro area Member States have made towards adopting the euro.

Brussels takes legal action against Poland over judges' independence 05 May 2020, 00:12 CET
The EU Commission launched legal action again Poland Wednesday over a new law which it says undermines the judicial independence of Polish judges and is incompatible with the primacy of EU law.

Brussels urges start to accession talks for Albania, Nth Macedonia 03 March 2020, 18:35 CET
The EU Commission recommended the opening of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia Monday, as it presented the countries' latest progress update on reforms related to the rule of law.

EU in solidarity with Greece over refugee crisis 04 March 2020, 18:17 CET
The EU made a strong show of support for Greece Tuesday as its leaders were welcomed by Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to review the refugee crisis and tensions at the Greek-Turkish border.

EU tells Romania to recover EUR 570m 'incompatible aid' from rail freight operator CFR Marfa 26 February 2020, 18:17 CET
Rail freight operator CFR Marfa received at least EUR 570m 'incompatible state aid' from Romania through debt write-off and failure to collect debts from the company, the EU Commission said Monday.