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European Union membership – who’s next?
At the end of last year, the European Union issued an update on the current status of countries presently on the fringes of the EU but that have indicated an interest in joining the trading bloc in the future. Foreign affairs MEPs called on the European Council to grant Albania EU Candidate Status as soon as possible.
They also endorsed the Council’s decision this summer to launch accession talks with Serbia, and recognised steps being made towards democracy in Kosovo. The recent signing of a Re-admission Agreement between Turkey and the EU could also lead to talks on EU membership for Turkey getting back on track.
MEPs reported on the decision of Iceland’s government to put the accession process on hold, awaiting a decision on whether to hold a referendum on EU membership there. Also, a planned Association Agreement with Ukraine remains unsigned due to political problems there.
It is worth remembering that it is likely to be many years before any of these countries join the EU, should it happen at all. In the meantime, however, most of them have special trading agreements with the EU countries, so there are still opportunities to import-export there.