Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

The Balkans are knocking on the EU's door

Written by Gérard Tur on Thursday, June 23rd 2022 à 14:20 | Read 249 times

Europe is preparing to grant Ukraine what it has refused for years to several Balkan countries.

In this case, Brdo, summits follow one another, but the issues are not progressing, or only slightly (photo: European Union)
In this case, Brdo, summits follow one another, but the issues are not progressing, or only slightly (photo: European Union)
EUROPE. Barring a huge surprise, today's European Council (Thursday 23 June) should grant Ukraine and Moldova candidate status for the European Union. A crucial step, very symbolic, but not decisive for membership. For Ursula von der Leyen, Ukraine "has already implemented about 70% of the EU's rules, norms and standards". But according to the President of the European Commission, "important work remains to be done".
Seven Mediterranean countries are already waiting at the door : Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Several EU members, including France and the Netherlands, are blocking, or slowing down, the accession process for political and internal EU reasons.
The oldest candidate, Turkey, applied in 1999. The country seems to be moving further and further away from integration because of the dictatorial drift of its President. Moreover, Turkey refuses to recognise Cyprus, even though it is a member of the EU. This position makes membership impossible.
The same applies to Serbia, which has been a candidate since 2012, but whose government's and population's proximity to Russia has become prohibitive in recent months.
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo also appear to be far from the finishing line. Bosnia's application dates back to 2016, while Kosovo's will be submitted at the end of 2022. Bosnia and Herzegovina still does not have candidate country status. Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia and Romania have never recognised Kosovo.
The obstacle course is just as daunting for Northern Macedonia. It knocked on Europe's door in 2002, was granted candidate status in 2005, but only received the EU's agreement to start negotiations in 2020. To do so, it had to change its name, among other things. After Greece's opposition, it is now facing a veto from Bulgaria.
Montenegro has had candidate status since 2010, Albania since 2014. Unlike many of their neighbours, the files of these two countries are moving in the right direction, even if for Albania the negotiations only started in 2020.

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