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In 2017 no annual report on the progress of the countries towards EU membership will be published

BRUSSELS – The Commission intends to move the adoption of the annual Enlargement package from its traditional time slot in the autumn to a new slot in the spring, so the next package  would not be adopted in October/November 2017, but in spring 2018. This would allow the Commission to harmonise its reporting period with the calendar year, which is the usual basis for gathering statistical data. This had been repeatedly proposed by the enlargement countries. The new timing of the package will also allow the Commission to harmonise its package reporting cycle with the Economic Reform Programmes cycle. The European Commission is expected to publish a package of this year’s reports on Wednesday, 9th November.

Due to the move to the spring slot, no Enlargement package is foreseen for 2017 During this period, the Commission will continue to engage with the candidate countries and potential candidates on many fronts. Accession negotiations will continue. The Commission will have regular meetings in the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement as well as various technical meetings. They will monitor the countries’ progress in applying EU legislation and provide additional clarifications and guidance, if needed.

In 2015, the Commission introduced changes to the reporting methodology in a number of pilot areas in order to further increase transparency of the reports and comparability between them. This recalibrated approach will be continued and further expanded in 2016. It will also cover areas linked to economic development (free movement of goods, competition, transport, energy), as well as certain areas of chapter 24 (migration, border control, asylum and fight against terrorism) and environment and climate change. The harmonised assessment scales for the state of play assessments will be further fine-tuned by using, where appropriate, interim steps between each two of the existing levels.