Fatigued EU Downgrades Enlargement Portfolio
Europe Danubian principalities
balkaninsight.co bssb.be 22.09.2014
The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker announced that the EU will not expand over the next 5 years. In reflection of this, the title of Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourly Relations is being altered to Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement.
Contrary to speculation, Juncker kept the enlargement portfolio but has decided to downgrade it in relation to neighbourhood policy.
“The Euro Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations portfolio, under Johannes Hahn (57, from Austria, previously served as Commissioner for Regional Policy), puts a focus on the continuation of enlargement talks, whilst acknowledging that there will be no enlargement of the EU for the next 5 years,”
The EC had a commissioner for foreign relations & European neighbourhood policy from 1995-to-1999. After 1999, there was a separate Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy.
Juncker in his speech said that the 27-member Commission would put Europe “back on the track of economic growth and create new jobs”.
Croatia was the last country to join the EU as its 28th member in July 2013.
Another ex Yugoslav republic, Slovenia, joined much earlier, in May 2004. Of the remaining ex-Yugoslav states, Serbia and Montenegro are next in line, having opened membership negotiations in 2012 and 2014.
Macedonia has been a candidate state since 2005 but has been unable to commence membership negotiations owing to a dispute with EU-member Greece over its name. Neither Bosnia nor Kosovo are in the running to join the European club in the foreseable future.