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2010-2011 Enlargement Strategy
The Commission presents its annual strategy for supporting reforms in the candidate and potential candidate countries for accession to the European Union (EU). It presents the political and financial priorities of the enlargement process for the current year.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 23 November 2010 - Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2010-2011 [COM(2010) 660 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The enlargement process has taken a new direction following the international economic crisis and the European Union’s (EU) new objectives for sustainable growth. This Communication also highlights the good progress made by the Western Balkan countries, even though the rate of reform needs to be faster.
Situation of the candidate countries
Turkey continued its process of political and constitutional reforms in order to improve the State’s democratic functioning and the judiciary, and to extend the scope of fundamental rights and respect for individual freedoms. However, effort is still required, in particular with regard to public procurement, competition policy and social policy. The country must also make progress towards normalisation of its relations with Greece and Armenia.
Croatia has made progress towards meeting the criteria for membership and harmonising its legislation with the EU’s acquis. Additional reforms must be made to ensure good management and monitoring of European funding. The same is true for the areas of justice, fundamental rights and competition policy, and for the country’s participation in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia must implement reforms concerning the democratic system, public administration and the judiciary. In particular, the country must improve the fight against corruption, freedom of expression and the business environment. Relations between the country and Greece must also be normalised.
Accession negotiations were opened with Iceland in July 2010. The country can now benefit from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) to support its reforms. The country must make progress towards ensuring the transparency of its political system, the independence of its judiciary, and the stability of its public finances and financial system.
Situation of the potential candidate countries
The Commission recommended that the Council grant candidate country status to Montenegro and open accession negotiations once the country has made sufficient progress towards meeting the criteria for membership. In addition, the Commission encourages Albania to continue its efforts with a view to opening negotiations.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has made limited progress towards meeting the criteria for membership, in particular with regard to compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), democratic principles and the right to equal treatment without discrimination.
Serbia continued its programme of political reforms with positive results concerning the fight against organised crime and corruption. In addition, the country has made progress in implementing the Interim Agreement on trade and the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). It is essential that the country should also continue its efforts towards reconciliation and regional cooperation, and its active participation in the ICTY.
The pace of political reform in Kosovo has increased, specifically concerning the decentralisation process. However, efforts are still required to fight corruption, organised crime and money-laundering. In addition, dialogue and reconciliation between communities, protection of minorities, and regional dialogue and cooperation need to be improved.
Priorities of the 2010-2011 Strategy
The enlargement process must continue on the basis of new priorities, in order to:
- overcome the economic crisis, specifically by carrying out structural reforms and introducing strict budget policies. In certain cases, the EU provides budget support and macro-financial assistance to countries involved in the enlargement process;
- increase social inclusion, by improving conditions for vulnerable groups (the Roma population in particular), and by adopting ambitious targets for employment, poverty reduction and education;
- reform the State and public administration, by focusing the reforms on the functioning of the institutional framework and the judiciary, and fighting organised crime and corruption;
- guarantee freedom of expression and the independence of the media;
- make progress towards reconciliation and regional cooperation, particularly in the Western Balkan countries.