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Enlarging the EU

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The policy

The enlargement policy of the European Union concerns those European countries which have a vocation to join the European Union.

This currently covers one acceding country (Croatia) five candidate countries (Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro and Serbia), as well as the three remaining countries and entities of the Western Balkans (Kosovo/UNSCR 1244, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania) for which the EU has confirmed the European aspirations.

Croatia should become the 28th Member State on 1st July 2013.

Albania submitted its request to become EU Member State in April 2009. In its opinion, the Commission considered that Albania needs to meet a number of key priorities before the negotiations be opened.

In order to become members of the European Union, the candidate countries have to demonstrate that they will be able to play their part fully as members - which requires wide support among their citizens, as well as political, legal and technical compliance with the EU's demanding standards and norms.

In this framework, the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry contributes to this process by monitoring the adoption of the comprehensive corpus of provisions of the "acquis communautaire" relating to the free movement of goods (chapter 1 of the accession negotiations), and defining policy priorities for the countries in enterprise and industry policies (in particular chapter 20 of the accession negotiations). In parallel, the Western Balkan countries and Turkey have committed to the implementation of the “Small Business Act” for Europe. Their performance is assessed through a specific monitoring tool, the SME Policy Index, developed jointly by the European Commission, the OECD, the European Training Foundation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the participating countries themselves.

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