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Countries which apply for EU membership need to align with European standards and legislation.

Justice issues are an important aspect of the enlargement process.

In 1995, the Madrid European Council further clarified that a candidate country must also be able to put the EU rules and procedures into effect.

Administrative and judiciary adaptation

Accession also requires the candidate country to have created the conditions for its integration by adapting its administrative structures.

While it is important for EU legislation to be transposed into national legislation, it is even more important for the legislation to be implemented and enforced effectively through the appropriate administrative and judicial structures.

This is a prerequisite for the mutual trust needed for EU membership.

Fight against crimes and corruption

Strengthening the rule of law, in particular the judiciary and the fight against organised crime and corruption, is a crucial challenge for most of the countries in the enlargement process.

Tangible results, bringing long-term improvements to the rule of law, are an important element in moving to the next stages of the EU accession process.

Rule of law

The renewed consensus on enlargement Choose translations of the previous link , agreed in 2006, calls for issues related to the rule of law to be addressed at an early stage of the accession process.

The Commission has made tackling these issues and using all available instruments a high priority.

The use of benchmarks in the accession negotiations serves as an important catalyst for reforms and gives a clear message that rule of law issues must be addressed seriously before accession.