The Balkan Strategy: From 27 to 33!

The Balkan Strategy: From 27 to 33!

Posted on February 8, 2018

The European Commission has unveiled a strategy outlining a renewed push for European enlargement and integration, bringing six nations in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) to the EU. The target date for the first new entrants to the bloc has been set to 2025, with Serbia and Montenegro who could be the first ones to join the EU, knowing that they are the only two countries with which accession talks already under way.

This phase of enlargement will eventually take the total number of EU members to 33 (The UK leaving the EU in 2019). A policy-window opportunity opens now for those negotiating EU Accession. Representing 36 countries, the nurse leaders from those countries planning to join the EU are already long time around the EFN policy and decision-making table. The EFN has developed an EU strategy for EU accession as EU accession negotiations are quite difficult to reach positive outcomes, as reflected in the book “A policy-window opportunity”. Reaching compliance with the Acquis, especially chapter 3, on free movement of nurses based on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications! EFN therefore welcomes the Commission plans allowing Balkan government ministers to participate already in top EU meetings in policy areas including environment, health, transport and foreign policy. In EFN, the same strategy is used: nurse leaders from future EU Countries are already around the EFN Policy and decision-making table, prior joining the EU.

Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are making considerable progress and the Commission is ready to prepare recommendations to open accession negotiations, based on fulfilled conditions. The Commission will also start preparing an Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s membership application after receiving comprehensive and complete answers to its Questionnaire. With sustained effort and engagement, Bosnia and Herzegovina could become a candidate for accession. Kosovo has an opportunity for sustainable progress through implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and to advance on its European path once objective circumstances allow.

Bulgaria holds the EU’s rotating six-month presidency and Sofia is keen to champion the membership drive of its Western Balkan neighbours by hosting a special Balkan summit in May.