The European Commission adopted its 2021 Enlargement Package, providing a detailed assessment of the state of play and the progress made by the Western Balkans and Turkey on their respective paths towards the European Union, with a particular focus on implementing fundamental reforms, as well as clear guidance on the reform priorities ahead.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, said “With today's report, we provide a detailed assessment of the progress made in the Western Balkans and Turkey, and where work remains to be done. We have to maintain a credible enlargement process. This is a two-way street: The new methodology is a merit based approach. It puts a stronger focus on fundamental reforms, such as rule of law, fundamental freedoms, economy and functioning of democratic institutions. Our partners need to address them, in the interest of their citizens and to advance on the EU path. And they need put aside their differences. On the EU side, we need to deliver on our commitments. The EU is not complete without the Western Balkans. It's time we come together and unite in building a stronger Europe.”
Presenting this year's Package, consisting of Communication on EU enlargement policy and annual reports, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, said: “Enlargement policy is a geostrategic investment in peace, stability, security and economic growth on our European continent. It's a merit based process, to which we provide a factual and fair assessment as well as a clear roadmap to accelerate and deepen reforms in our partners. This is in line with our revised enlargement methodology, enhancing the credibility of the process. And we are standing by the Western Balkans and Turkey with significant financial support through the new Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III). IPA III is also the main funding source for the almost €30 billion Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, which aims to boost the region's economic development and convergence with the EU as well as the long-term post-pandemic recovery.”
Source: European Commission News