European Western Balkans

Commission to propose the possibility of putting accession talks on hold, FT reports

European Commission; Photo: European Union

LONDON – A document scheduled to be published this week by the European Commission states that backsliding or delays on necessary reforms by EU candidate countries could lead in the most serious cases to negotiations being put on hold or suspended, or already closed chapters being reopened, reports Financial Times.

However, this proposal, alongside others, will be the subject of further debate, including on the number of votes needed to reverse the enlargement process.

According to the newspaper, which has seen the document, the Commission also calls for improved incentives for well-performing aspirant countries, including increased funding and investment and closer integration with EU policy, markets and programmes in areas where progress has been made.

Crucially, the rules would apply to accession talks launched after the plan was adopted, with an idea under discussion to allow an opt-in option for Serbia and Montenegro, Financial Times reports.

“The promise of greater clarity may appeal to the six western Balkan countries that have long wanted to join the EU, but they are also likely to be concerned the plan will increase the possibility that they could be barred from accession”, the paper writes.

The discussion on how to reform the EU enlargement process was triggered by the non-decision on whether to open accession talks  with North Macedonia and Albania. France, on the one hand, and nine Member States on the other, have proposed their own versions on how to improve the enlargement process.

Read also: Serbian think tanks present recommendations for reforming EU accession of Western Balkan countries

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