With Croatia’s accession to the European Union, the EU welcomed its 28th Member State. On October 16, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to a “Europe whole and free” with the release of the European Commission’s 2014 enlargement strategy and its annual report on countries that are either candidates or potential candidates to join the European Union.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, recommended granting formal EU candidate status to Albania and repeated its call to open accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Commission also evaluated the progress toward EU accession made elsewhere in the Western Balkans and in Turkey over the past year. As Iceland’s government has decided to put accession negotiations on hold, a simplified report on Iceland reviewed the current state of its alignment with the EU.
According to European Commissioner for Enlargement Štefan Füle, “Enlargement continues to be one of the most effective EU policies. By addressing ‘fundamentals’ first – such as the fight against corruption, sound economic governance, freedom of expression and media, human rights and protection of minorities – it strengthens political and economic stability in the aspiring countries and the EU as a whole.”