News archive - Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports 2007

On November 6, 2007 the Commission adopted its annual strategy document explaining its policy on EU enlargement and published the 2007 progress reports. It concludes that there has been steady though uneven progress in the Western Balkans and the region continues to face major challenges.

The annual strategy document includes also a summary of the progress made over the last twelve months by each candidate and potential candidate: Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, as well as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo (under UN Security Council Resolution 1244).

In addition, the 2007 progress reports were published, where the Commission services monitor and assess the achievements of each of the candidate and potential candidates over the last year. The so-called "enlargement package" contains also proposals to the Council for revised European and Accession partnerships for each country, in which the Commission lists areas where further reforms are needed. Finally, the Multi-annual Financial Framework sets out the financial assistance available to support the reform efforts of the candidate and potential candidates.

Presenting the reports Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said: "In 2007 there has been steady but uneven progress in the Western Balkans. We still need to face major challenges, such as the Kosovo status process, Serbia's democratic development and state building in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I expect that in 2008 conditions will be fulfilled and thus we will be able to complete Stabilisation and Association Agreements with all countries in the region."

The pull of the EU is contributing to stability and encouraging important political and economic reforms. It is crucial to maintain the visibility and credibility of the accession prospects, as well as support for enlargement in the member states.

Communication therefore is a cornerstone of the EU's enlargement policy. It is important to listen to citizens and to respond to their concerns by providing clear, factual information. Member states are best placed to take the lead in communicating enlargement.The Commission will continue to play its part together with the European Parliament, national, regional and local authorities and civil society.

Accession negotiations with Croatia are advancing well and entering a decisive phase. This demonstrates to the region as a whole that the European perspective is concrete and tangible. The Commission expects substantial progress in the accession negotiations with Croatia in the course of the year ahead, provided that the country maintains the necessary reform momentum and meets the conditions.

Clarity needs to be reached as rapidly as possible on the status of Kosovo. There is a need for a sustainable solution that will ensure a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo and contribute to regional stability.

Better governance in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro, state building with local ownership in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia's European course are the major challenges for these countries in the coming year. The region as a whole needs to move forward in building modern democracies and further develop a political culture of dialogue and tolerance.

Early in 2008, the Commission will take stock of developments and point the way forward in following up the EU's agenda for the Western Balkans region. Attention will be given to promoting people to people contacts. The Commission will initiate a dialogue on visa liberalisation.

Source: Rapid Press Release

Download the reports:

Further information:
Key findings of the progress reports on the candidate countries: Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey
Key findings of the progress reports on Kosovo and the potential candidate countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia

Press conference by Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement, on the presentation of the 2007 Enlargement package, obtained from the Central Audiovisual Library of the European Commission.

Entry created by Elke Dall on November 6, 2007
Modified on November 6, 2007