European Union Enlargement: A Status Report on Turkey’s Accession Negotiations

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External Relations - EU Enlargement: a successful policy: Turkey

Constitutional and legislative amendments during ensured the fulfilment of these recommendations. The accountability of judges and prosecutors, however, continues to be weak, whereas the level of professionalism and competences, especially among prosecutors, continues to be a concern for the Commission.

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In terms of economic criteria, the Commission maintains that Kosovo is still at an early stage in establishing a market economy, noting some progress in enabling export-oriented businesses and some deterioration when it comes to public expenditures, particularly regarding benefits for war veterans that the government has pushed forward despite warnings by international financial institutions.

The biggest concern in the report remains education and research, a section to which the Commission has been granting more attention every year.

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The report concludes that public spending on education has dropped to merely 3. The full report on Montenegro is available here. Presenting the Enlargement Package in Brussels on 9 November, Commissioner Hahn underlined that the steps made by the countries in the region confirm the salience of EU enlargement policy.

With that in mind, what does the report say about the progress Montenegro has made? In the regional race of numbers, Montenegro is still the unchallenged champion of the accession negotiations with now 24 out of 35 chapters open with 4 of them opened in the last reporting period. However, rather than the pace of chapter-openings, it is the tempo and the efficiency of reforms that dictate the pace of the provisional closure of chapters and the endpoint of the negotiating process.

In that sense, the record regarding the political criteria is mixed. At the same time, however, a swift and transparent investigation into allegations of voting irregularities, the regionally unprecedented temporary disabling of Viber and Whatsapp , as well as publicised arrests related to an alleged coup attempt are called for. Moreover, the misbalance between the optimal legislative and institutional framework on the one hand, and the lack of a track record of implementation is a common denominator of almost all areas covered by the report, but is most emphatically emphasised with regards to the fight against corruption and organised crime.

The fight against organised crime also needs to improve: from efforts now considered limited in the area of human trafficking, or even nonexistent in the area of money laundering. All the recommendations spelled out in the report are of great importance since the decision on further progress in the negotiations overall will depend on whether the interim benchmarks set in chapters 23 and 24 on the rule of law have been reached.

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A stark contrast from the inaugural speech by the newly elected Prime Minister, where the fight against organised crime and corruption are mentioned only once — in the context of improving the domestic conditions for attracting future foreign investors. Freedom of expression stands out in this report, with no progress at all detected in the past year — a dismal fact that Montenegro shares with the rest of the region this time. We have seen no decline in smear campaigns and discrimination in state advertising in the media nor progress in the resolution of cases of attacks on journalists.

There is no doubt that reforms concerning the rule of law have been in the spotlight of all involved stakeholders and commentators. The Commission stresses the structural problems of high fiscal deficits and the ever more rapid growth of the public debt, coupled with a record-high unemployment rate and a growing imbalance between the amount of imported and exported goods. It echoes domestic concerns over the high expenses of new public infrastructure projects and social expenditure programmes.

The combined pressure of all these factors on the sustainability of the local economy is brought into sharp focus. Consequently, immediate measures are requested. While in many areas this can be said to be true, the proverbial pinch of salt remains with respect to precisely those areas that ought to drive Montenegro forward to the EU.

In stressing the shortcomings during the last year, the most recent report is a clear impetus for the new government to truly make the quantum leap from legislation to full and consistent implementation. Andi Hoxhaj on Albania: There is a good chance of opening accession negotiations over the next year. The full report on Albania is available here. This progress report was one of the most positive to date for Albania. Furthermore, the report emphasises that it is important for Albania to continue its efforts towards five key priorities: public administration, a functioning judiciary, fighting corruption, tackling organised crime, and protecting human rights.

However, special attention should be paid in particular to the fight against corruption, organised crime and drug smuggling. The Parliament amended 58 articles of the Albanian constitution and passed several laws creating new justice institutions. The report praises Albania for adopting the judicial reform. However, the report highlights that it is crucial now for Albania to show tangible progress in the implementation of the reforms.

However, corruption remains prevalent in many sectors and continues to be a serious problem. However, there was no progress made in amending legislation on interceptions and surveillance, time limits for investigations and admissibility of evidence before court. Furthermore, the independence and effectiveness of institutions in charge of the fight against corruption continued to be limited because of political influence and weak administrative capacity.

The fourth priority, organised crime, has seen some progress over the last year on identifying and destroying cannabis plots. However, enforcement of human rights remains low. Furthermore, the report finds that Albania lacks institutional mechanisms to protect the rights of the child and to tackle gender-based and domestic violence. Overall, the report indicates that Albania may have a good opportunity to open negotiations with the EU within a year. Issue Purchase - Online Checkout. People also read Article.

Published online: 25 Jan Gulay Icoz et al. Published online: 13 Nov Published online: 8 Sep David Phinnemore et al. Published online: 29 Apr Published online: 20 Jun Published online: 15 May Moreover, there are small details that provoke restraint among certain member states. However, today the question of Turkish accession no longer seems to be on the agenda.

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Located at the junction of the West and Arab Muslim countries, Turkey has the position of an intermediary. In the view of certain European countries, Turkey could be a peaceful buffer zone between a stable EU and the countries of the Middle East that are unstable, to say the least. In the vision of other EU members, by contrast, if the EU becomes a participant in conflicts in this region, it will lose its capacity to mediate.

The negotiations were halted as Turkey refused to recognise its role in the Armenian genocide of , a sine qua non condition for the Commission to advance the accession negotiations. Moreover, Turkey still refuses to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, whose northern part is still occupied by Turkish soldiers, as legitimate.

In , discussions on the latter question took place in Geneva, under the aegis of the United Nations, to abate the last conflict that divides a European capital in half. But the Turkish side pulled out, stating that it would not order the withdrawal of soldiers from Nicosia. In early , the tensions in fact increased between Cyprus and Turkey, as the latter blocked an Italian gas drill ship in Cypriot waters, in what Cyprus called a violation of international law. The so-called migrant crisis has brought out a new dimension in EU-Turkey relations. The unprecedented situation in the Mediterranean pushed member states of the EU to sign an extremely controversial agreement with Ankara at the start of to stem migration, as the EU did not know how to cope with the crisis.

Turkey Reports Prepared by the European Commission

With the deal, Turkey helped the EU to find a temporary solution. For each Syrian sent back from Greece, another is resettled in the EU, up to a limit of 72, persons. However, the developments have been compromised by the current situation in Turkey. Two years after the agreement, its results are contested.

The number of migrants arriving on Greek islands has decreased dramatically, by 97 percent, and 1, migrants have been taken back to Turkey. Living conditions in the Greek islands, however, have not improved. In May , a protest movement of a size not seen before emerged in Istanbul, initially motivated by environmental questions. The movement rapidly transformed into a huge wave of demonstrations against the ruling regime.