Croatia’s Neighbours Advance towards EU

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, April 17, 2018 – The European Commission on Tuesday issued its latest annual report on the progress of negotiations with the six Western Balkan countries and Turkey towards membership of the bloc.

The European Commission said it wants to open talks with Albania and Macedonia to allow the two countries to join the European Union. While this is the first time Albania is being mentioned as a potential EU-member, Macedonia was suggested by the European Commission back in 2005. However, there was no consensus, mainly because of Greece’s issue with the name of the former Yugoslav republic.

While the Western Balkans treads slowly towards EU membership, Turkey does not seem to have any chances to join the Union. The report points that maintaining basic rights and freedoms, as well as the rule of law, are imperative for an EU-member candidate. The negotiations with Turkey started in 2005 but were frozen in 2016 after an unsuccessful coup d’etat against Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his deeds following the failed coup.

As for Western Balkan countries, the report said that progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina last year was rather slow. Serbia, however, was praised for opening 12 negotiating chapters and temporarily closing two. Montenegro continued to make progress with a total of 30 chapters opened and three closed.

Kosovo is furthest from EU membership, as five EU member states do not recognise its independence. Slow progress was recorded in general.

French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking in Strasbourg on Tuesday, said he believed the EU needed to improve its internal governance first before opening up to new members. “Would we have 30 or 32 member states in a couple of years time? With the same rules that is simply not feasible,” he said.


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