The European Commission issued on 17 April its latest communication on the EU's Enlargement Policy, together with the reports for each candidate countries assessing their reform record in preparation for accession to the EU.
Three important messages emerge:
- Due to serious backsliding on rule of law and fundamental freedoms, the negotiations with Turkey remain blocked. No movement is expected so long as the current President of the country does not change his behaviour.
- There is positive news for Macedonia and Albania with a recommendation that a date be set for opening accession negotiations. This will now go to the European Council for action.
- A more sobering message on the state of democracy and the rule of law, with serious weaknesses in the functioning of state institutions and increased levels of corruption throughout the region. This represents a critical challenge both for the countries concerned in overcoming these weaknesses, and for the EU to ensure more effective enforcement mechanisms.