The Process of EU Enlargement
The European Union is currently made up of 27 Member States, while there is an ongoing process for its future enlargement.
At the moment several countries have the 'candidate' status and are waiting to join the EU, while others are potential candidates for the future. After signing the EU Accession Treaty, Croatia has the 'acceding' status and is expected to join the EU in July 2013.
Every year the European Commission adopts an annual strategy document explaining its policy on EU enlargement as well as progress reports on the political and economic developments in candidate countries/potential candidates. Latter reports provide an assessment on:
- How far candidate countries have implemented EU legislation
- How far potential candidates have adopted EU standards and fulfilled other specific conditions
Among other things, the progress reports include key statistical data on the countries. Statistics is one of the areas assessed by the Commission.
Pre-accession financial assistance
The EU provides financial assistance to these countries to help in the joining process. This pre-accession financial assistance is channelled through a new Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).