Turkey's EU accession stalled, Ukraine and Moldova recommended for negotiations
The European Commission has recommended the initiation of accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, following their substantial reform efforts, and achieved results. However, the Commission also underscores that the Council should adopt the negotiation frameworks once these countries have adopted specific vital measures. Progress relating to these measures is expected to be reported to the Council by March 2024.
In contrast, Turkey's entry to the European Union (EU) continues to be stalled. The country has been a candidate for EU membership for years, but negotiations have remained at a standstill. Despite remaining a vital partner of the EU, Turkey has been on a negative trend, moving away from the Union and only pursuing accession-related reforms to a limited degree.
Georgia has been recommended by the Commission to be granted the status of a candidate country, conditional on the completion of several steps. Conversely, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been advised to commence accession negotiations once it achieves the necessary degree of compliance with membership criteria.
The decision to grant EU candidate status in Ukraine has spurred a powerful reform dynamic, even amidst the ongoing war. The country has shown its ability to make progress in aligning with the EU acquis, even under wartime conditions.
Moldova has made significant strides, launching a comprehensive justice reform following the recommendations of the Venice Commission. This includes the evaluation of prominent judges and prosecutors.
However, progress on EU accession reforms has stalled in Montenegro due to deep polarization and political instability. On the other hand, Serbia needs to prioritize its alignment with the EU's standard foreign and security policy, especially concerning restrictive measures and statements on Russia.
North Macedonia is required to deliver on the implementation of EU-related reforms, including in the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organized crime, and public administration reform, including management of public finances and public procurement.
Lastly, Albania and Kosovo must do more work, including on the action plan in several areas. Despite these challenges, the European Commission remains hopeful for progress and continues to monitor and support all candidate countries' reform efforts.