Sheet 4 – Enlargement)
Parliament in Bulgaria
According to Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, any
European country may apply for membership if it respects the principles of
liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and
the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States'
(Article 6.1 TEU). Accession, however, can only follow if the given
European country fulfils all criteria
of accession which were fixed by the European Council in
Copenhagen in 1993 and reinforced by the European Council in Madrid in
1995. These criteria are:
political: stable institutions guaranteeing democracy,
the rule of law, human rights and respect for protection of
economic: a functioning market economy and the
capacity to cope with competition and market forces in the EU;
the capacity to take on the obligations of membership,
including adherence to the objectives of political, economic and
adoption of the acquis
communautaire and its effective implementation through
appropriate administrative and judicial structures.
In addition, the EU must be able to absorb new members, so it
reserves the right to decide when it will be ready to accept them
How does a
country join the EU
A country that wishes to join the EU submits an application for
membership to the Council, which asks the Commission to assess the
applicant’s ability to meet the conditions of membership. If the
Commission delivers a positive opinion, and the Council unanimously agrees
a negotiating mandate, negotiations are formally opened between the
candidate and all the member states.
the pre-accession strategy is designed to prepare the candidate countries
for future membership. It encompasses the following frameworks and
ISPA and SAPARD:
programme applies to the acceding and candidate countries,
and principally involves Institution
Building measures (with accompanying Investment) as well as
measures designed to promote Economic
and Social Cohesion.
The Phare programme entails national,
multi-beneficiary and cross-border projects.
It comes under the responsibility of the Directorate-General for
Enlargement, which is also responsible for overall co-ordination of
pre-accession assistance (including ISPA and SAPARD programmes).
According to each country's level of preparation, PHARE programmes
are implemented under centralised or decentralized management
structure. Under the Decentralized Implementation System (DIS),
the national implementing authorities are still subject to ex-ante
control by the local EC Delegation. In a further step, under the
Extended Decentralized Implementation System (EDIS),
the national implementing authorities are no longer subject to ex-ante
control by the local EC Delegation.
programme deals with large-scale environment and transport
investment support, and comes under the responsibility of the
Directorate-General for Regional Policy.
programme supports agricultural and rural development and
comes under the responsibility of the Directorate-General for
Co-financing from International Financing Institutions
Participation in EU Programmes, Agencies and
National Programme for the adoption of the acquis
The first step in negotiations
is the so called “screening”. It is an analytical examination of the
acquis. The purpose of screening is to explain the acquis to the candidate
countries and, with them, to identify areas where there may be problems to
As a basis for launching the actual, technical negotiation process, the
Commission establishes a “screening report” for each chapter and each
Candidate country submits a negotiating position. The Commission submits
to the Council a Draft Common Position (DCP). The Council adopts a common
position allowing opening of the chapters.
Negotiating sessions are held at the level of ministers or deputies, i.e.
Permanent Representatives for the Member states, and Ambassadors or chief
negotiators for the candidates.
Monitoring and review procedure
The Commission keeps duly informed the Council and the Parliament about
the candidates' preparations for membership with help of the so called
“Monitoring reports”. They also serve to guide the candidate countries
in their preparations.
Peer reviews cover the most problematic issues identified in the
Before envisaged accession, the Commission produces a Comprehensive
Monitoring Report. This report serves as a basis to decide on any possible
remedial measure to be taken by the Commission in its role as a guardian
of the Treaties. Such measures include safeguards, infringement
proceedings or financial management measures.
Regular/Progress Reports (review procedure) have the purpose to assess
progress achieved by each country in preparation for accession.
The Ratification Process and Accession
Once negotiations are concluded on all chapters the results of the
negotiations are incorporated in a draft Accession Treaty, which is agreed
between the Council and the acceding countries. This draft Treaty is
subsequently submitted to the Commission for its opinion and to the
European Parliament for its assent. After signature, the Accession Treaty
is submitted to the Member States and to each acceding country concerned
for ratification by them in accordance with their own constitutional
procedures. When the ratification process has been concluded and the
Treaty takes effect, the candidate becomes a Member State.
The Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP)
Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) is a part of the
enlargement process. It is the framework for the European course of the
Western Balkan countries all the way to their future accession.