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After seven consecutive enlargements, spanning over half a century, the EU is considering further expansion towards the Western Balkans and Turkey. It is clear that the EU will not admit any new members before the term of the current European Parliament and European Commission ends in 2019.
However, enlargement negotiations continue as the EU weighs fundamental values against security concerns, public scepticism in some countries, and the past experience of letting in countries that were not prepared. In parallel to enlargement, the EU is pondering the next steps for countries of the Eastern Partnership, including Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.
This Martens Centre event will focus on how the EU should proceed. Should enlargement be simply stopped due to the EU’s economic, immigration and security crises that have weakened the bloc? Should alternatives be introduced, such as, for example, a membership with a reduced status? Or should enlargement be kept on the long-term agenda, employing a stricter approach towards assessment of the progress made by the candidate countries?
A new Martens Centre paper, The Long March Towards the EU: Candidates, Neighbours and the Prospects for Enlargement by Konrad Niklewicz, will serve as the basis of our discussion.