“Montenegro and Serbia are the two countries that have made the most progress in joining the EU”

Will the EU set a precise timetable for its new enlargement?

It is unlikely that the EU will set a precise timetable as member states usually have to meet all possible criteria. Traditionally they are called “chapters”. When all “chapters” are completed, a candidate country can join. Normally this would take a long time. Therefore, a “target date” (around 2030) could be proposed in the new world. However, whether this means that all new member states will be ready to fully integrate into the EU by this point remains to be seen. In fact, it’s unlikely. In the past, “enlargement” meant that a country completely adopted the so-called acquis communautaire (all laws and treaties). Today there are more voices that the EU may need to accept that new member states will not join all aspects of integration from the start, but will participate more or less in some parts of the EU, but not in all. This is new territory for the EU. It has always insisted that enlargement meant full membership, even if in reality some EU members did not participate in all EU activities (e.g. the UK, as a member, was neither part of the Schengen area nor the euro). . In addition, both Norway and Switzerland are not EU members, but cooperate intensively with the EU. These countries typically adopt EU directives, laws and regulations. on principle.

Which countries are best suited for faster integration?

There are currently eight candidate countries (Turkey, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Moldova, Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina). The last three were granted membership status just a year ago. Currently, Montenegro and Serbia are the two countries that have made the most progress in preparing their country for accession. Therefore, if a recent speech by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs (Joseph Borrell) is to be believed, the next enlargement could take place as early as 2030; In this case, these two countries would be most willing to join the EU in 2030.

What are the most urgent reforms the EU needs before accepting new members?

The EU will only be able to accept new members after some reforms. There are currently a number of points being raised by observers about which reforms are most needed. Some observers point out that slow governance makes it difficult for the EU to make serious decisions. Others talk about the European Union’s small budget for important strategic supranational spending. These funds could be used to reshape the energy market, spend more on joint initiatives and provide funding for the accession of new member states to the EU. Furthermore, assuming that the EU will help Ukraine rebuild (whether it is a member or not) will cost billions of euros. Currently, the EU cannot find these funds in the EU budget, although Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, has pledged to cover about half of the costs of Ukraine’s reconstruction (through grants and loans based on the EU -household). ), assuming, of course, that the war will end at some point in the not-too-distant future.

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Could Ukraine’s European integration be on the table in hypothetical peace negotiations?

The EU is committed to helping Ukraine find peace, supporting it during the war and extending its hand to reach out and support it. The offer for Ukraine to become a candidate country must be seen from this perspective. However, membership has so far been a very formalistic process. Member states must follow all the rules before they can join. Given Ukraine’s poor rule of law and rampant corruption before the war, it is not immediately clear whether Ukraine is ready to join the EU any time soon. However, there are many voices in Europe who would advocate a different path to bring Ukraine closer to the EU. So far we have not heard anything about EU membership being part of a peace agreement. The EU already has a hard enough time ensuring that its members comply with EU laws once they are in the EU. Some member states will not be so enthusiastic about accepting Ukraine if it is not yet ready. Enlargement requires unanimity.

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