Enlargement Process Key to Stability in Western Balkans,Turkey, EU Commission SaysEU | November 10, 2015, Tuesday // 11:31| views
The EU enlargement process covering the Western Balkans and Turkey is key to strengthened economic and political stability in the region, the European Commission said on Tuesday as it adopted its annual Enlargement Package.
The package contains a set of annual reports on the progress made during 2015 by each candidate country and potential candidate as well as documents explaining the Commission policy on EU enlargement.
The progress reports assess where the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey stand in preparingto meet EU membership criteria, and sets out what needs to be done to address the remaining challenges.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn commented: "The current refugee crisis shows how crucial close cooperation between the EU and the countries in south-east Europe is. The EU enlargement process, covering the Western Balkans and Turkey, is a powerful tool to strengthen the rule of law and human rights in these countries.
The enlargement process also boosts the economy and promotes regional cooperation, Hahn said.
“A clear European perspective gradually transforms our partner countries and strengthens stability around our Union,” he added.
The Commission said that the Western Balkans and Turkey are faced with the common challenge of being seriously affected by the influx of migrants and refugees across their borders.
“The migration challenge makes more than ever a case for increased cooperation with enlargement countries, and the EU is providing substantial support to this end,” the Commission said.
The EU executive body also said that while important progress has been achieved in enlargement countries over the past year, significant challenges remain with respect to the rule of law as well as economic governance and competitiveness.
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