The Directorate-General (DG) for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs contributes to the enlargement process by defining policy priorities related to its portfolio for countries wanting to join the EU.
To become EU members, candidate countries must demonstrate that they will be able to play their part as members, that membership has wide support among their citizens, and that they can achieve political, legal and technical compliance with the EU's demanding standards and norms.
DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs monitors the adoption of EU rules relating to:
We do this through the European Commission’s annual 'Enlargement package', which articulates policy priorities, and through the regular dialogue that takes place in the so-called ‘policy sub-committees’ with countries where a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), or similar agreement, such as an Interim SAA and Association Agreement, is in place.
In these annual sub-committees, the country and the Commission discuss policy priorities and exchange information. We participate in the specific subcommittees where issues of free movement of goods, the right of establishment and freedom to provide services, public procurement, intellectual property law, tourism, and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and industrial policies are discussed. We take part in the annual assessment process of the Economic Reform Programmes. We also participate in the rest of the regular enlargement process: membership applications, screening and negotiations.
Currently, there are five candidate countries (Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania) which are all at different stages in the negotiations. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo* are potential candidates who have been promised the prospect of joining when they are ready.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
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 known as the SME Policy Index. This tool is jointly developed by the Commission, the OECD, the European Training Foundation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the participating countries.
Since 2014, candidate countries and potential candidate countries have the option of joining the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME). Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Albania, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have joined the programme. A framework agreement was signed by the Council in December 2016 to allow Kosovo to participate in EU programmes. The agreement is currently with the European Parliament and Kosovo will be able to join COSME once the Parliament has concluded the agreement.