With a set of annual reports approved yesterday, the European Commission adopts its “Enlargement package 2013” – a set of documents explaining its policy on EU enlargement and reporting on progress achieved in each country. This Communication assesses the current state of the European Union’s enlargement agenda.
Based on the accompanying in-depth country analyses, the package takes stock of what these countries have achieved preparing for membership, where they stand today, assesses their prospects for the coming years and in this regard makes a number of recommendations. On this regard, the EC recommends granting EU candidate status to Albania and, for the fifth time in a row, the opening of accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Commission also assesses the progress towards EU accession made elsewhere in the Western Balkans and in Turkey over the past year.
Most importantly, the Enlargement package includes the annual Enlargement Strategy Paper which sets out the way forward for the coming year and takes stock of the progress made over the last twelve months by each candidate country and potential candidate. In addition to this strategy paper, the package contains the so-called Progress Reports (see those of Albania, Kosovo, Kosovo, and Turkey) in which the Commission services present their assessment of what each candidate and potential candidate has achieved over the last year. In fact the Commission has been mandated by the member states to report annually on progress achieved by all candidates and potential candidates. This monitoring process ensures that aspiring countries are admitted only when they have met all requirements. The conditions and concrete requirements for accession have been spelled out to all the countries wishing to join.
The enlargement package is accompanied by the multi-annual indicative financial framework for the pre-accession assistance.