Enlargement is one of the EU’s biggest success stories, promoting stability and prosperity on the continent while consolidating the common principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and a market economy. As an essential tool for promoting European values, enlargement deepens the Union, bringing countries closer together.

The countries of South-East Europe have been part of an EU enlargement process that offers the prospect of EU membership since June 2013, when the Thessaloniki European Council affirmed that the future of the Western Balkan countries lies within a united Europe. The successful accession of Croatia, which joined in July 2013, demonstrates that the door remains open to all European countries able to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria.

Hands hold up a painting of the EU flag

The EPP Group firmly believes the enlargement policy should remain a powerful political lever and that we should continue to judge each candidate country on its own merits, ensuring it adheres to the Copenhagen criteria. We also believe the membership process should consider the EU’s capacity for absorption and making the European dream accessible to other European countries. The EPP Group supports the meticulous and effective analysis of the consequences of enlargement.

Our EPP Working Group on Enlargement aims to demonstrate our Group’s continuous support for the EU enlargement process, to encourage political parties and institutions to make the necessary reforms enabling EU accession and to support civil society organisations and the broader population in their aspirations to join the EU. It meets regularly with the Western Balkan countries’ Ambassadors and organises fact-finding missions, on which our Members meet important stakeholders.

We also organise an important Conference on the Western Balkans every year with EPP political leaders from the region, in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Martens Centre.

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