“We want future EU enlargement negotiations to be more efficient and more transparent for everybody. Progress should be better rewarded, and the EU's interests better protected when a country backslides", said Michael Gahler MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on Foreign Affairs.

The European Commission is expected to present its proposal later today for new, revised rules for countries willing to join the EU.

“The European Union must learn the lessons from past experiences, including Turkey. We need a strong mechanism to scale down or halt negotiations or redefine the final goal if a candidate country drifts away from the EU trajectory", Gahler said.

"Even more importantly, countries who work harder and approximate EU level should see their efforts rewarded”, stressed Gahler. “This can be through the faster integration of the candidate country in sectoral European programmes or speedier decisions to pass to the next stage of the negotiations”, he continued.

The EPP Group also calls for "more political focus" in the EU's enlargement policy. "Enlargement policy must continue to be a tool to promote European values, stability and prosperity beyond current EU borders", Gahler concluded.

The European Union has ongoing accession negotiations with three countries (Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro) and has proposed to start talks with two others (Albania, Northern Macedonia). Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are two potential candidates.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States

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