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Countries looking to join the EU either in the near or distant future have to ensure that they have a legal and institutional regime guaranteeing the freedom of all categories of capital transactions in the same way as if they were already an EU Member State.

Candidate countries and potential candidate countries

The present enlargement agenda covers the countries in South-East Europe - Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo under UN Security Council Resolution 1244, Turkey and Iceland.  These countries have been given the perspective of becoming EU members once they fulfil the necessary conditions.

At present, there are four candidate countries, Croatia, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Iceland. Accession negotiations with the first two started on 3 October 2005. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia became a candidate country in December 2005 but accession negotiations have not started yet. Accession negotiations with Iceland started on 17 June 2010.

Candidate countries have to demonstrate that they will be able to play their part fully as members. In particular with all the countries of South-East Europe the EU has established a gradual enlargement process – known as the Stabilisation and Association process - which prepares the candidate and potential candidate countries for future membership.

Concerning capital movements, candidate countries must complete their legal and institutional regime so that the freedom of all categories of capital transactions, as listed in the nomenclature contained in Annex 1 of Directive 88/361/EEC, be guaranteed.  The EU laws with which the candidate country must comply (known as the "acquis") in the area of capital movements and payments are based on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular Articles 63-66, and are directly applicable.

For more detailed information on enlargement issues, see the European Commission's dedicated website.