Growth

Enlarging the EU

Enlarging the EU

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:

  • the free movement of goods (chapter 1 of entry negotiations)
  • the right of establishment and freedom to provide services (chapter 3 of entry negotiations)
  • public procurement (chapter 5 of entry negotiations)
  • intellectual property law (chapter 7 of entry negotiations)
  • enterprise and industrial policy (chapter 20 of entry negotiations)

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.

More on EU enlargement

Implementing the Small Business Act

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.

Joining COSME

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 and Turkey joined in 2014, Albania and Serbia in 2015, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2016, and Kosovo in 2017.

Third countries' participation in COSME