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Acceding and candidate countries

There are currently five candidate countries for EU accession: Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Accession criteria are identical for all countries and remain those defined by the 1993 Copenhagen European Council. The Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs is the Commission service in charge of economic analysis and policy advice as regards acceding and candidate countries.

Acceding and candidate countries

A country is deemed to be a candidate country when, having examined its application for EU membership, the EU Council formally recognises the country as candidate, thus granting the country candidate status. Acceding countries are those candidate countries which have completed accession negotiations and signed an accession treaty with the EU.

Since the accession of Bulgaria and Romania on 1 January 2007, and of Croatia on 1 July 2013, there are currently no acceding countries. The current candidate countries are Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Accession negotiations were opened with Turkey in October 2005 and with Montenegro in June 2012. In November 2009 the Commission recommended the opening of negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which has however yet to be agreed by the Council.

The main activities of DG ECFIN regarding candidate countries:

  • contributing to the Commission's annual Progress Report (normally published in autumn). Progress reports assess the relevant countries' progress in complying with the Copenhagen accession criteria. The economic section of Progress Reports is drafted by DG ECFIN;
  • contributing to Accession Partnerships, which are Council Decisions, and entail a section on economic priorities;
  • assessing (annually) the candidate countries' medium-term Pre-accession Economic Programmes (PEPs);
  • assessing (annually) the candidate countries' fiscal notification;
  • annual, or in particular cases, biannual bilateral economic dialogue with each candidate country;
  • commission Spring and Autumn Forecasts for each of the candidate countries;
  • assisting the Commission in the "screening process" by preparing accession negotiations, and in accession negotiations. DG ECFIN is responsible for the content of negotiations on the provisions on Economic and Monetary Policy (negotiation chapter 17);
  • analytical notes, regular and occasional publications;
  • regular consultations and bilateral exchanges with international financial institutions active in the relevant countries, in particular the IMF, the World Bank and the EBRD; and
  • regular staff missions to candidate countries (fact-finding, discussions with the authorities).

Related publications and links

>> Albania
>> The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
>> Montenegro
>> Serbia
>> Turkey