Europe

Number of countries waiting for EU membership rises

With Ukraine, Moldova joining 'candidate state' list, number of countries wishing to join EU reaches 7

Selen Temizer   | 24.06.2022
Number of countries waiting for EU membership rises ( Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency )

BRUSSELS

As Ukraine and Moldova received the status of “candidate state” on Thursday, the number of countries waiting to be an EU member rose to seven. 

On the first day of the EU leaders’ meeting in Brussels on June 23, Ukraine and Moldova were granted the candidacy status, while Georgia was presented with the European perspective, and it was decided that the country’s situation will be re-evaluated later if it fits the criteria.

So, Georgia also took its place among the “potential” candidates even though it was not clearly mentioned.

Six Balkan countries were determined as “potential candidates” in the EU leaders’ meeting held in Greece's port city of Thessaloniki in 2003. While Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are still in this category, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia were granted the “candidate state” status in the following years.  

Türkiye

Ankara had applied to become an EU member in 1959 and negotiations started in the following years for the country to meet the expectations of the bloc.

The EU Harmonization Commission for Türkiye was established in the Turkish parliament. On May 19, 2003, the council adopted Türkiye's Accession Partnership Document.

Negotiations still continue for the country to receive the membership status.  

Montenegro

The Balkan country had applied for EU membership in 2008.

In 2010, the EU Commission had determined seven priorities for negotiations to begin after expressing a positive opinion regarding the issue.

In December 2011, the EU Council launched the membership process for the country and started negotiations with Montenegro on June 29, 2012.  

Serbia

Serbia officially applied for EU membership in 2009. The country was granted the candidate country status in March 2012.

In September 2013, Serbia and the EU signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement.

The membership negotiations officially started for Serbia with the first inter-governmental conference in January 2014. 

Albania

The official application from Albania to be an EU member state came in 2009. In 2010, the EU Commission set 12 conditions for the country to become a candidate member.

In October 2012, the commission adopted a recommendation to grant Albania the EU candidacy status, subject to the completion of key reforms in the judiciary and public administration.

The EU Council granted the candidacy status to the country in June 2014.

North Macedonia

The Balkan country applied for EU membership in March 2004. Upon the commission’s positive approach in November 2005, the EU Council decided to give the candidacy status to the country in December 2005.

Bulgaria kept vetoing the start of negotiations for the memberships of Albania and North Macedonia. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo

Bosnia and Herzegovina presented its application for EU membership in February 2016. The EU Commission accepted it in May 2019 and identified 14 fundamental priorities to be met for the country to be a member state.

The EU Council approved the commission’s recommendations in December 2019, and the country has been a potential candidate state ever since.

The Stabilization and Association Agreement with Kosovo came into force in April 2016, but the country has not yet applied for formal membership. Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, and the Greek Cypriot administration still do not recognize Kosovo's independence.

The "candidacy status" constitutes the first step in a country's EU accession process.

After granting the candidate status to a country, accession negotiations begin at later stages, provided the EU conditions are met. Accession negotiations can take years to begin and conclude. 

*Writing by Merve Berker in Ankara

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