How is the accession process of Serbia going?

Serbia officially applied for European Union membership in 2009. It received its EU candidate status in 2012. Ever since, negotiations on its accession have been in progress and the country was expected to complete its negotiations by the end of 2024 which would facilitate its accession by 2025.

However, the accession process of Serbia has for now, come to a halt. This is due to the very little progress it has shown over the past two and a half years. Only two out of 35 Chapters (which contain the conditions set by the EU) were satisfied by 2019 and according to the EU Commission report, 2020 saw no progress or significant reform efforts at all. Serbia has been criticized by the Commission and the Parliament for neglecting fundamental freedoms and the rule of law and various other irregularities.

However, in September of 2021, the European Commission reassured Serbia of its future European Union membership.

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Will Turkey’s efforts to join the European Union succeed?

Turkey is one among the prospective countries negotiating its accession to the European Union (EU).

In 1963, the country was initially an associate member of the European Economic Community and later applied for full membership in EEC.

It was an associate member of the Western European Union, and also the 13th member to join the Council of Europe, in 1950. After signing the 1995 Customs Union agreement with the EU, Turkey was officially recognised as a candidate for full membership at the Helsinki summit of the European Council held in 1999.

Although negotiations for full membership started in 2005,   the country showed slow progress and out of the 35 Chapters necessary to complete the accession process only 16 had been fulfilled.

The 2016 refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union was actually intended to accelerate negotiations and allow visa-free travel through Europe for Turks. However, the negotiations have been put on hold because Turkey was accused by the EU of human rights violations and its shortcomings in abiding by the rule of law.

EU officials expressed that many of the Turkish policies violate the Copenhagen criteria of eligibility for EU membership. Following these events, in 2019, the European Parliament committee voted to suspend the accession talks. This has sparked counter criticism from the Turkish government too. So, at the moment it becomes difficult to say if Turkey will ultimately join the EU or not.

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Why is it said that the accession chances of Montenegro are very high?

Accession of Montenegro to the European Union (EU) is on the current agenda for future enlargement of the EU. Here is how it all began.

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising of Serbia and Montenegro was a single country. In February 2003, Yugoslavia was transformed from a federal republic to a political union officially known as the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro started the process of Accession to the European Union in November 2005.

In May 2006, Montenegro voted for independence in a referendum. In 2006, Montenegro seceded from the union, and from then on, Montenegro and Serbia were considered fully independent entities.

Separate negotiations were launched with Montenegro in 2006 and an agreement was officially signed in October 2007.

Three years later, the EU Commission issued a favourable opinion on Montenegro’s application. It stated seven key criteria that would need to be satisfied for further negotiations to begin. Montenegro was then conferred candidate status by the EU Council.

The accession negotiations with Montenegro subsequently began in 2012. Among the states that are still negotiating for membership, the European Commission sees Montenegro as having the highest level of preparation. The country has been largely favoured by EU members’ officials, and accession of the country to the EU is considered possible by 2025.

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What are the challenges faced by North Macedonia in its Accession process?

North Macedonia is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe. It gained its independence in 1991 as one of the successor states of Yugoslavia. Skopje is the capital and largest city.

The Republic of North Macedonia is a candidate country since December 2005. The European Commission has been conducting accession negotiations with North Macedonia since October 2009. In 2015 and 2016, the Commission made it a condition that the implementation the Przino agreement should continue. This is a political agreement between the main political parties in North Macedonia to conduct their activities only peacefully, with the mediation of the European Union.

At the same time, there was opposition from the neighbouring Greece over the use of the country name “Macedonia”. The disagreement which lasted from 1991 till 2019 arose because Macedon was once an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece. With the intervention of the UN, the problem was solved and today, the Republic is known as North Macedonia.

In March 2020, the EU gave its formal approval to begin accession talks with North Macedonia which was endorsed by members of the European Council. Although the draft of the negotiating framework was presented to the Member States in July 2020, Bulgaria has blocked further accession negotiations of Macedonia. It alleges that Macedonia is showing slow progress on the implementation of the 2017 Friendship Treaty between the two countries.

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When did Albania apply for the European Union membership?

Albania is situated on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, with Montenegro and Serbia to the north, Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south. Albania consists of two major regions: a mountainous highland region (north, east, and south) constituting 70 per cent of the land area, and a western coastal lowland region that contains nearly all of the country’s agricultural land and is the most densely populated part of Albania.

From 1468 till it got its independence in 1912, Albania was a part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. In 1946, the country became a communist republic.

Albania is an emerging democracy and developing country. It is said that the number of Albanians living outside Albania is greater than the country’s population of nearly 3 million. Many Albanians left the country in search of work; the money they send home remains an important source of revenue.

Albania provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens. The official language is Albanian. The capital of Albania is Tirana. Albania applied for the EU membership in April 2009 and received the candidate status in June 2014.

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