Tag Archives: Croatia

Civil society dialogue between the EU and candidate countries

Civil society dialogue between the EU and candidate countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Civil society dialogue between the EU and candidate countries


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

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement

Civil society dialogue between the EU and candidate countries

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, of 29 June 2005, on civil society dialogue between the European Union and candidate countries [COM(2005) 290 final – Not published in the Official Journal]


The Commission aims to overcome the problem that arose during the previous enlargement of citizens being neither sufficiently informed nor prepared. It plans to strengthen contacts and exchange of experience, and ensure better mutual awareness and understanding by developing a civil society dialogue with Turkey and Croatia.

The Commission will employ the broadest definition possible of civil society *. Municipalities and other local communities will also be included in the dialogue.

The approach to dialogue employed in Croatia will be different to the one in Turkey. Greater emphasis will be placed on relations with the latter. The Commission proposes strengthening ongoing activities and complementing them with new ones.

Strengthening ongoing activities


The EU has been working with Croatian civil society in the context of the stabilisation and association process (the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Croatia entered into force on 1 February 2005). This dialogue benefits from Croatia’s participation in Community programmes such as the 6th RTD Framework Programme and Tempus.


National and European institutions have already developed bilateral activities with Turkey which fall under the scope of the civil society dialogue.

The EU currently finances a number of activities aimed at:

  • developing civil society by means of a programme to strengthen the expansion of NGOs in Turkey, the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights EIDHR and the pre-accession financial assistance programme;
  • fostering close links with social partners and civil society organisations in the areas of social dialogue, employment and social affairs, with particular focus on labour law, gender equality and anti-discrimination;
  • enhancing Turkish participation in Community education and training programmes, namely Socrates, Youth and Leonardo da Vinci. Additional financing from the pre-accession funds is envisaged to complement the proposed programme grants. In the university sector, Turkish students studying to improve their expertise in the area of European integration benefit from the Jean Monnet Scholarship programme. The Commission intends to increase the scholarship funding allocation and look into other related initiatives, such as extending the programme to EU students wishing to study in Turkey;
  • supporting Marie Curie Actions which offer a set of structured mobility schemes for researchers. These actions are geared to the development and transfer of research competencies, the consolidation and widening of career prospects for researchers and the promotion of excellence in European research.

New activities

Dialogue will evolve over the long term in line with the needs expressed by civil society. The Commission expects the actors of civil society to play an active role in conducting the dialogue.


Civil society dialogue in Croatia will evolve in the light of the deepening of EU-Croatia relations, the strengthening of regional cooperation and the further development of reconciliation with the region. The Commission would like to see dialogue focus on the practical impact of the accession process and proposes encouraging contacts between social partners, the media, NGOs and religious communities in the EU and Croatia.


The Commission is planning a range of activities aimed at enhancing EU-Turkey relations in the area of:

  • long-term partnerships between organisations. The establishment of a grant scheme to assist Turkish civil society organisations in cofinancing bilateral exchange projects with counterparts based in the EU. This is aimed in particular at professional organisations and social partners. Priority will be given to projects encouraging sustainable relations between organisations;
  • gender equality. The EU aims to strengthen the position of women in Turkish society and to tackle other issues such as domestic violence. The Commission will seek to include gender equality and the equal opportunity dimension in all its activities;
  • business relations. This involves the creation of an EU-Turkey Business Council to operate as a forum of the main EU companies active in Turkey and their Turkish counterparts, with a view to acting as a link between European institutions and the local business associations in the interest of further developing trade and investments;
  • cooperation between local communities. The Commission wishes to support twinning between EU and Turkish cities and include local communities from remote and disadvantaged regions in activities implemented within the framework of the civil society dialogue. Turkey could participate in the Community ” Citizens for Europe ” programme proposed for 2007-2013, designed to promote active European citizenship;
  • youth, university and professional exchanges. The Commission will evaluate the efficiency of mechanisms implemented in this area and examine additional projects. It plans to encourage closer institutional cooperation between universities in the EU and in Turkey, in view of setting up independent academic institutions open to students from both sides and supporting joint research and publications;
  • culture and the media. The Commission will do its utmost to encourage an open public debate. Internet-supported platforms and a website will be set up for this purpose. The Commission will work with Member States’ cultural organisations to support activities targeting language learning and the promotion of interpretation and translation from and into Turkish. It will part-finance television programmes providing information on European and Turkish societies. Partnership projects between television companies from both sides aimed at producing joint programmes will also be supported. The Commission will give priority to direct contacts between professional organisations of journalists through the creation of a programme of seminars involving journalists from the EU and Turkey.

The Commission points out that civil society dialogue will also focus on religious issues and involve churches and other religious organisations or associations.

Implementation modalities

The Commission will conduct regular consultation of personalities from both sides, chosen on the basis of their expertise in EU-Turkey relations.

In principle, the proposed activities will be financed under the pre-accession assistance budget for the countries concerned, supplemented if necessary by contributions from public or private institutions and the Commission. As regards budgetary programmes, candidate countries provide a contribution, which is partly covered by pre-accession funding.

The Commission will use existing structures and resources in the implementation of projects whenever possible. It adds that the streamlining of visa procedures by Member States would be welcome as regards the Turkish participants in the dialogue.

Monitoring and reporting

The Commission will ensure a regular follow up of the activities and of their results. Information will be made available on the “Europa” Internet portal. Monitoring of EU-Turkey mutual perceptions in particular will be established to guide future policy.

Key terms used in the act
  • Civil society: all structures in society outside of government and public administration, whether based on a voluntary or mandatory membership (trade unions and employers federations, organisations representing a broad spectrum of social and economic actors, non-governmental organisations, grassroots organisations, religious communities and the media).

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

Enlargement strategy 2009-2010

Enlargement strategy 2009-2010

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enlargement strategy 2009-2010


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 2009-2010

This Communication sets out the progress made and the reforms to be implemented by countries engaged in the European Union (EU)’s enlargement process. It also presents the European Commission’s priorities in supporting these countries’ efforts.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament –Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2009-2010 [COM(2009) 533 – Not published in the Official Journal].


Candidates and potential candidates for European Union (EU) membership have been affected by the international economic crisis. However, their economic and fiscal stability has been maintained through reforms supported by the enlargement process.

The situation of candidates for membership

Turkey has made progress in new areas. In particular, at national level, the Government has launched an initiative concerning the rights of the Kurdish minority. Nevertheless, the country should make further efforts to improve the safeguarding of fundamental rights (for example concerning the press, trade unions and women) and to control the army through civil institutions.

At external level, the country participates in negotiations under the auspices of the UN in order to resolve the Cypriot conflict. In 2009, Turkey contributed to stabilisation initiatives concerning the Middle East and the Southern Caucasus. The country has also signed an agreement on the construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline which should contribute to a secure energy supply in Europe.

Croatia has made steady progress. Accession negotiations could be concluded in 2010 if the country continues with reforms according to the planned timetable. Croatia also has to resolve its border issue with Slovenia.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has made progress in its reforms. The country has made particular efforts in the areas of democracy, justice and the fight against corruption. Discussions have also taken place under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) in order to resolve this country’s border issue with Greece.

The situation of potential candidates for membership

Bosnia and Herzegovina has not made sufficient progress at political level, in particular due to the unstable political climate and the unsatisfactory functioning of institutions. In view of this situation, the European presence in the country has been strengthened. Furthermore, the country was strongly affected by the crisis and turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance.

In Kosovo, stability has been maintained but remains fragile. The European EULEX Mission has therefore been deployed throughout the territory. In addition, progress should be made to improve the functioning of justice and the administration, as well as to reconcile the different communities in the country. Finally, European financial aid has been increased since 2008, and EUR 500 million was earmarked for the country for the years 2007-2010.

Reforms in Montenegro have progressed at political and democratic levels. However, shortcomings in the judiciary and in administrative capacity still remain. Moreover, the country concluded an agreement with Croatia to resolve the border issue between them.

Serbia should continue its reforms, particularly with regard to the economy. In addition, the country requested specific assistance from the EU and the IMF to recover from the economic crisis. The country should also improve its relations with Kosovo. Administrative capacity has been improved. Furthermore, the country is cooperating in a satisfactory manner with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), but some war criminals have still not been arrested.

In 2009, the European Union received two new applications for membership from Albania and Iceland.

Albania has made satisfactory progress. Parliamentary elections organised in 2009 met with international standards. However, efforts are still required to guarantee the smooth functioning of the judiciary.

Iceland applied for membership in July 2009, in particular due to the financial crisis which has strongly affected it. This country is thoroughly integrated in the European internal market: it participates in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Schengen Area.

Priorities of the 2009 – 2010 strategy

In order to foster economic recovery following the international financial crisis, the enlargement process supports the adoption of:

  • short term measures to fight unemployment and poverty;
  • medium-term measures to strengthen the stability of public finances and fiscal policies on the one hand, and to improve social protection and increase investment on the other.

In this context, European aid amounts to EUR 200 million in the form of grants, under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). The aid aims at strengthening:

  • the banking sector,
  • infrastructures,
  • small and medium-sized enterprises,
  • employment, particularly in rural areas.

The development of the rule of law and good governance is an essential priority for the EU. In 2009, EUR 80 million of IPA assistance were allocated for strengthening the judiciary and administration of partner countries.

Candidate countries should resolve conflicts with neighbours and maintain good relations with neighbouring States.

Increased regional cooperation is essential for economic development in the Balkans. In this regard, progress has been made in the areas of energy and transport. The Commission encourages cooperation under the South East European Cooperation Process.

Priorities for the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA)

The IPA has a budget of EUR 1.5 billion for the period 2009 – 2010. As a priority it finances:

  • the visa liberalisation regime for the Western Balkans, which is being completed in line with commitments under the Thessaloniki Agenda. All of the agreements aimed at facilitating the granting of visas and the readmission of persons residing without authorisation to their State have entered into force. In this spirit, the Commission has proposed a visa-free regime, applicable by 2010, for citizens from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia;
  • the improvement of the quality of the pre-accession process through regular political dialogue and the monitoring of partners’ reforms;
  • the inclusion of civil society and administrations in the enlargement process to facilitate, in particular, their participation in EU agencies and programmes;
  • the fight against climate change, in particular by establishing the Regional Environmental Network for Accession (RENA) and by funding projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • improving communication about the enlargement process, directed at the populations of partner countries and European Union countries.

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.

Ongoing enlargement

Ongoing enlargement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Ongoing enlargement


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

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement

Ongoing enlargement

The enlargement process is based on a certain number of principles and instruments which have been drawn up gradually, especially in the context of the fifth enlargement. Its objective is to prepare the candidate countries to assume the obligations deriving from Member State status. The Copenhagen criteria determine the conditions to be respected by the candidate countries: the political and economic criteria and the adoption and application of European legislation (acquis). This process requires considerable effort on the part of the candidate countries, which are judged on their own merits, especially in terms of strengthening institutions and reforms. The EU has therefore established various instruments to support and assist them and to evaluate their preparation and needs at each stage of the enlargement process.


  • The accession process for a new Member State
  • Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012
  • 2010-2011 Enlargement Strategy
  • Enlargement strategy 2009-2010
  • Enlargement Strategy 2007-2008
  • Enlargement strategy 2006-2007: challenges and integration capacity
  • Enlargement strategy 2005: roadmap for the Western Balkans
  • Progress with enlargement: Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia (2004)
  • Enlargement strategy and 2003 report on the candidate countries


  • Turkey
  • Croatia
  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Iceland
  • Opinion on Montenegro’s accession to the European Union


Financial assistance

  • Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)
  • The operational priorities of the European Investment Bank
  • Overhaul for EU Solidarity Fund

Sectoral cooperation

  • Civil society dialogue between the EU and candidate countries
  • Black Sea Synergy
  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety
  • European Training Foundation (ETF)


  • Relations with the northern part of Cyprus



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