October EU leaders' meeting to address enlargement agenda: which nations are next in line?
Flag of the European Union (Photo - EPA)

The leaders of the European Union will discuss ways to reform the bloc and accept new countries at the summit in Granada on October 5-6, Reuters writes.

The summit is intended to kick-start "a long process to prepare the EU for enlargement by a tentative deadline of 2030."

The following states are currently on the list of countries applying to join the European Union and have acquired the status of candidates:

- Turkey (candidate since 1999). Negotiations on Turkey's accession to the EU have long been frozen, mainly due to problems with human rights and public administration.

North Macedonia (candidate since 2005). In 2020, the country received approval to start accession negotiations. Negotiations did not start due to Bulgaria's objections.

- Montenegro (candidate since 2010). Accession negotiations began in 2012, and only three of the 33 open points of discussion have been settled at this stage.

- Serbia (candidate since 2012). Accession negotiations began in 2014, discussions on 22 out of 35 negotiation points have been initiated, and two have been settled.

- Albania (candidate since 2014). Accession talks began in 2022 after Albania met conditions on reforms to the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organized crime, the intelligence services and public administration. However, the EU merged Albania's application with North Macedonia's, effectively extending Bulgaria's blockade to both countries.

- Moldova (candidate from 2022). To start negotiations, Moldova must reform the judicial system, curb corruption and organized crime, get rid of oligarchs, reform public administration and finances, strengthen civil society rights and protect human rights.

Ukraine (candidate from 2022). In the same year, the European Commission provided Ukraine with an action plan that must be implemented in order to start negotiations on joining the EU. According to Politico, the European Union is preparing to officially announce the start of accession negotiations in December 2023.

- Bosnia and Herzegovina (candidate from 2022). In order to start accession negotiations, Bosnia needs to implement 14 priorities with a focus on democracy and state functionality, the rule of law, fundamental rights and public administration reform.

Two more countries, Georgia and Kosovo, have applied for the status of candidate states, but have not yet received it.

Ukraine expects to become a member of the European Union in the coming years.

Support for joining the EU among Ukrainians is now at a record high level.