Tag Archives: Community acquis

Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012

Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enlargement > The stabilisation and association process: the western balkans

Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 12 October 2011 – Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2011-2012 [COM(2011) 666 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The enlargement process has entered a new phase, due in particular to the completion of negotiations with Croatia. The country’s accession to the European Union (EU) is planned for mid-2013. In the light of this success, the European Commission intends to put its experience to use in future negotiations with other States.

The Communication assesses the current state of the EU’s enlargement agenda and sets out priorities for its 2011-2012 strategy, as well as the resources that it intends to employ in order to meet its objectives.

Priorities for the 2011-2012 Enlargement Strategy

In the context of its Enlargement Strategy, the Commission recommends:

  • strengthening the rule of law and public administration reform;
  • ensuring freedom of expression in the media;
  • enhancing regional cooperation and reconciliation in the Western Balkans;
  • supporting the economic recovery of candidate or potential candidate countries and including their economies in the Europe 2020 strategy;
  • developing transport and energy networks.

Progress in the Western Balkan countries

Accession negotiations with
were completed in June 2011, at which date the country met the access criteria. The Accession Treaty was signed in December 2011. Provided the necessary ratification procedures have been completed, Croatia should therefore become a member of the EU on 1 July 2013.

former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
continues to meet the political criteria. The country is currently carrying out reforms of the parliament, the judiciary, and public administration. However, the country needs to make further efforts as regards freedom of expression in the media, and fighting corruption. The Commission reiterates its proposal to open accession negotiations.

Montenegro acquired the status of candidate country in December 2010. Since then, the country has improved its legislative and institutional framework, although it needs to continue to fight corruption and organised crime. The Commission has recommended that accession negotiations be opened.

In Albania, the political stalemate persisted, both before and after the local elections in May 2011. However, dialogue between political forces in Albania was re-established towards the end of the year. The country has made limited progress as regards the political criteria for membership, but has made some progress in fighting organised crime.

Since the October 2010 elections, Bosnia and Herzegovina has not been able to form a national government, and as a result, the implementation of reforms which would allow for progress towards EU membership has been delayed. Governance of the country continues to involve an international presence with an executive mandate.

Regarding Serbia, the Commission has recommended the status of candidate country, it being understood that Serbia would reinitiate dialogue with Pristina and rapidly implement, in good faith, the agreements already concluded. It also proposes to open accession negotiations with Serbia, as soon as it has made further progress in normalising its relations with Pristina. The Commission Opinion notes that Serbia has made much progress in fulfilling the political criteria set by the Copenhagen European Council in 1993. Moreover, the country has put in place a functioning market economy and has reached a certain degree of macroeconomic stability. In the long term, the Commission considers that Serbia should be able to take on the obligations of membership, provided that progress continues.

In Kosovo (in accordance with the statute defined by Resolution 1244 of the United Nations Security Council), the period 2010-2011 was marked by early legislative elections, as well as the appointment of a president in April 2011. In this context, the country has made limited progress in its reform agenda, although progress has been made in trade and the establishment of a National Council for EU Integration. Organised crime and corruption nevertheless remain a concern. However, the Commission proposed the implementation of measures, as laid out in its 2009 Communication, particularly in the areas of visas, trade, and participation in EU programmes.

Progress made by Turkey

The present strategy stresses that Turkey is already integrated to a large extent into the EU in terms of trade and foreign investment through the Customs Union. However, the country needs to maintain its efforts in order to meet the political criteria for accession. It is crucial that fundamental rights are respected, such as freedom of expression, women’s rights and freedom of religion.

On the international stage, Turkey played a key role in the events occurring in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011. However, its relations with Cyprus are still strained. The Commission intends to implement a new positive agenda in order to foster cooperation and dialogue with that country.

Progress made by Iceland

The period 2008-2009 was marked by economic collapse in Iceland. Little by little, the country has been recovering and has maintained some political stability, which has enabled it to continue the EU accession process. Iceland’s level of integration is quite high. The Communication notes satisfactory progress of negotiations between Iceland and the EU.

Support for the enlargement process

The Commission supports the enlargement process through:

  • financial assistance, mainly coming from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) amounting to EU 11.6 billion for 2007-2013;
  • visa-free travel and mobility which drives countries to implement reforms;
  • information and communication to obtain support from public opinion.

Turkey: the Commission recommends opening accession negotiations

Turkey: the Commission recommends opening accession negotiations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Turkey: the Commission recommends opening accession negotiations


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement > Turkey

Turkey: the Commission recommends opening accession negotiations

In its Communication of October 2004 the European Commission finds that Turkey sufficiently fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria and recommends opening accession negotiations with Turkey. It does however set certain conditions for opening negotiations. It suggests a strategy based on three pillars.
In the Commission’s view the final objective, accession, is clear but it cannot be guaranteed in advance.

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 6 October 2004 from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Recommendation of the European Commission on Turkey’s progress towards accession [COM(2004) 656 final – Not published in the Official Journal]


The Commission considers that Turkey sufficiently fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria and suggests opening accession negotiations subject to certain conditions. It also proposes – for the first time – establishing a tight framework for the negotiations using a three-pillar strategy.

The Commission stresses that accession cannot take place before 2014, and that it must be thoroughly prepared to allow for smooth integration and to avoid endangering the achievements of over fifty years of European integration.

Opening negotiations subject to conditions

In the light of the changes that have taken place in Turkey in recent years, the Commission considers that it sufficiently fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria. It has made substantial progress with political reform, in particular through the far-reaching constitutional and legislative changes adopted in recent years in line with the priorities set out in the Accession Partnership. However, the Law on Associations, the new Penal Code and the Law on Intermediate Courts of Appeal have not yet entered into force. Moreover, the Code on Criminal Procedure, the legislation establishing the judicial police and the law on execution of punishments have yet to be adopted.

Turkey is making serious efforts to ensure proper implementation of these reforms. Nevertheless, legislation and implementation measures need to be further consolidated and broadened. This applies specifically to the zero tolerance policy in the fight against torture and ill-treatment and the implementation of provisions relating to freedom of expression, freedom of religion, women’s rights, International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards including trade union rights, and minority rights.

In view of the overall progress already achieved with reforms, and provided that Turkey brings into force the outstanding legislation mentioned above, the Commission recommends that accession negotiations be opened. It proposes that when opened, they should be organised around three pillars.

Three-pillar negotiations

The first pillar concerns cooperation to reinforce and support the reform process in Turkey, in particular in relation to the continued fulfilment of the Copenhagen political criteria. The EU will therefore monitor the progress of the political reforms closely. This will be done on the basis of a revised Accession Partnership setting out priorities for the reform process. Starting at the end of 2005 there will be an annual general review of the progress of political reforms. To this end, the Commission will present a first report to the European Council in December 2005.

The Commission may also recommend suspending the negotiations if there is a serious and persistent breach of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms or the rule of law on which the Union is founded. If such a recommendation is made, the Council may, by a qualified majority, decide to suspend negotiations.

The second pillar concerns the specific way in which accession negotiations with Turkey are to be approached. They will be held in the framework of an Intergovernmental Conference consisting of all Member States of the EU. For each chapter of the negotiations, the Council must lay down benchmarks for the provisional closure of negotiations, including a satisfactory track record on implementation of the acquis. Existing legal obligations relating to alignment with the acquis must be fulfilled before negotiations on the chapters concerned are closed. Long transition periods may be necessary.

In some spheres, such as structural policies and agriculture, specific arrangements may be needed. The Commission is considering permanent safeguards concerning the free movement of workers. Turkey’s accession is also likely to have an important financial and institutional impact. The EU will therefore need to define its financial perspective for the period from 2014 before negotiations can be concluded.

The third pillar entails enhanced political and cultural dialogue between the people of the EU Member States and Turkey. This includes a dialogue on cultural differences, religion, migration issues and concerns about minority rights and terrorism. Civil society should play the most important role in this dialogue, which the EU will facilitate.

Assessment of issues raised by Turkey’s possible accession

As well as the Regular Report on Turkey and its recommendation, the Commission has also presented a detailed impact study on issues raised by Turkey’s possible accession to the European Union. The study concludes that Turkey’s accession would be a challenge for both the EU and Turkey. If well managed, it could offer important opportunities for both. The necessary preparations for accession would last well into the next decade. The EU will evolve over this period, and Turkey should change even more radically. The Community acquis, i.e. the whole body of EU policies and legislation, will develop further and respond to the needs of an EU of 27 or more. Its development may also anticipate the challenges and opportunities of Turkey’s accession.


Relations between the EU and Turkey go back a long way. In 1963 Turkey and the European Economic Community entered into an Association Agreement which referred to the possibility of membership. In 1995, a customs union was formed and, in Helsinki in December 1999, the European Council decided to grant Turkey the official status of an accession candidate. It considered at that point that the country had the basic features of a democratic system but displayed serious shortcomings in terms of human rights and the protection of minorities.

Against this background, in December 2002 the Copenhagen European Council concluded that the European Council of December 2004 should decide on the basis of a report and a recommendation from the Commission whether Turkey fulfilled the Copenhagen political criteria and, accordingly, whether the EU would open accession negotiations with Turkey.

Related Acts

EEC-Turkey Association Agreement (1963), Official Journal No 217 of 29.12.1964.

Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 16 and 17 December 2004

The European Council decided that the European Union would open accession negotiations with Turkey on 3 October 2005. The negotiations will be based on the three pillars proposed by the Commission in its recommendation of October 2004.


Commission report COM(98)711 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission report COM(1999)513 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission report COM(2000)713 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2001)700 final – SEC(2001) 1756
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2002)700 final – SEC(2002) 1412
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2003)676 final – SEC(2003) 1212
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2004)656 final – SEC(2004) 1201
Not published in the Official Journal

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.



Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Croatia


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement > Croatia



  • Accession Partnership with Croatia


  • Croatia – Economic and monetary affairs
  • Croatia – Employment and Social Affairs
  • Croatia – Agriculture, fisheries and food safety
  • Croatia – Enterprises
  • Croatia – Internal market
  • Croatia – Taxation
  • Croatia – Competition
  • Croatia – Transport
  • Croatia – Energy
  • Croatia – Environment
  • Croatia – Health and Consumers
  • Croatia – Education and culture
  • Croatia – Information Society and Media
  • Croatia – Research and new technologies
  • Croatia – Justice and security
  • Croatia – Regional policy
  • Croatia – External relations, Common Foreign and Security Policy