European Western Balkans

Commission’s proposal for enlargement methodology on 5 February, sources say

European Commission; Photo: Pixabay

PARIS / BRUSSELS – European Commission’s proposal for a new enlargement methodology will be presented on 5 February, European Western Balkans finds out from unofficial sources in Paris and Brussels. The Commission itself has not yet announced an official date.

The proposal was originally planned to be released in January, according to the Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi, but it was later delayed. The Commission’s proposal will not be the final version of the new methodology, which will require the consent of all Member States. It is expected, however, that it will significantly impact the debate about the process.

Reform of the existing enlargement methodology was kicked off in November last year when France published a non-paper on this issue, following its veto on the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

This proposal was followed by a non-paper by nine other EU Member States, among whom were Italy, Austria and Poland. The main difference to the French proposal, which envisaged seven stages of the negotiating process, is that the groups of chapters should be possible to open in parallel and not consecutively.

Multiple other interested parties, including non-governmental organisations and think tanks, have also contributed to the debate so far.

The reform of the enlargement methodology comes at the time of the preparations for the Conference on the Future of Europe, as well as EU-Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb this May.

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