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EU enlargement

The EU has opened accession negotiations with Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey so far. In addition, the Council of the European Union has decided to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. Potential candidate countries are Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.

Accession negotiations with Montenegro were opened on 29th June 2012.  With the opening of Chapter 8 (Competition Law) on 30th June 2020, all 33 Chapters became open for negotiations. Three of them (Science and Research; Education and Culture; External Relations) have already been provisionally closed.

The negotiation process with Serbia was launched on 21st January 2014. The 13th meeting of the Accession Conference at Ministerial level with Serbia was held on 14th December 2021. The outcome of the Conference was the opening of Cluster 4, which includes the chapters on Transport Policy, Energy, trans-European Networks, and Environment and Climate Change. In total, 22 of the 35 chapters have been opened for negotiations, two of which have already been provisionally closed.

On 25th March 2020, the Council of the European Union decided to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. The European Council endorsed the decision the following day. The Commission presented the draft negotiating framework to the Member States in July 2020. The pending adoption of this framework by the Council is a precondition for convening the first Accession Conference with Albania and with North Macedonia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted its application to join the EU on 15th February 2016. The EU adopted its Opinion (Avis) of Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2019, which sets out a comprehensive roadmap of reforms to guide and support the country on its path towards EU integration. The Council endorsed this Opinion in December 2019.

The Stabilization and Association Agreement between the EU and Kosovo entered into force on 1st April 2016. Further EU-rapprochement depends on the normalization of relations with Serbia, the progress of reforms and the attitude of those five EU member states (Greece, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Republic of Cyprus) which do not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign state.

The European Union has been conducting accession negotiations with Turkey since 2005. Negotiations came to a standstill because of the political situation in the country. No further chapters will be opened at the moment.

On 6th February 2020, the European Commission put forward a proposal to drive forward the EU accession process by making it more credible, more dynamic and predictable, and subject to a stronger political steer. The Council of the European Union and the European Council officially endorsed the Commission's proposal in March 2020. All Accession Conferences since March 2020 are being held under the revised enlargement methodology according to the endorsed proposal.

The European Commission also adopted the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans in October 2020. The Plan sets out strategic investments in key, future-oriented sectors such as climate protection, energy, communications and digitalization. The IPA III Regulation of the EU, which was adopted in September 2021, will support the implementation of the Economic and Investment Plan.

Additional information

EU enlargement

Contact

Europe, ETC: EU-Erweiterung@bmdw.gv.at