Written answers

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

EU Enlargement

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin Bay North, Independent)
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123. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Moldova joining the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23280/19]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The European Commission published its Annual Enlargement Package and country reports on 29 May. These are currently being examined in depth, in preparation for a discussion on enlargement at the General Affairs Council on 18 June..

Serbia and Montenegro are both candidate countries that are currently negotiating their accession to the Union. The Commission notes that both countries have made progress, but need to act with greater determination, particularly in the area of rule of law. Serbia should make efforts towards greater alignment with the Union’s foreign policy.

On North Macedonia and Albania, the Commission has once again recommended opening accession negotiations this year. North Macedonia has made significant progress in key reform areas, and the Prespa Agreement  between it and Greece is an example to the region. Albania has continued to make good progress, particularly in the implementation of significant reforms to the justice sector, although the polarised political environment there is a cause for concern. As a strong supporter of enlargement, Ireland welcomes the conclusions of the Commission and will support opening negotiations with both Albania and North Macedonia this year.

Moldova is not currently a candidate for accession to the EU, however it is a participant in the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy, and has aspirations to one day become a candidate country. We are supportive of the aspirations of the countries in the European Neighbourhood, provided they are able to meet the criteria to become candidate countries.

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