Candidates for accession to the European Union


July 5, 2022

This article is dedicated to the accession candidates of the European Union and those states that want to join the EU or are mentioned by various parties as possible accession candidates. Article 49 of the EU Treaty grants every European country the right to apply for EU membership. "European" is understood in a political-cultural sense and includes the members of the Council of Europe, such as the Republic of Cyprus. The EU awards the official status of "accession candidate" to states that have submitted an application for membership, which was accepted unanimously by the Council of the European Union after a positive recommendation by the European Commission. The exact accession procedure is explained in the article Enlargement of the European Union. The candidates are designated according to their current number (as of 2016) with CC-5 (English Copenhagen criteria, German "Copenhagen criteria").

Candidates for accession

The following seven countries have been granted the official status of "accession candidate" by the EU.


Efforts to have Albania join the EU date back to 2003, when the Balkan state was the first of the “potential accession candidates” to start negotiations on a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA). In May 2005, Albania's then government under Fatos Nano expressed hopes of joining the EU in 2014, as that year marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The SAA was officially signed in 2006. The ratification of the SAA (by all EU countries and Albania) was completed on April 1, 2009. Albania was accepted into NATO on the same day. On April 28, Albania submitted the formal EU membership application. On September 16, 2009, the foreign ministers of the EU handed over the application for membership to the EU Commission in Brussels. "The Commission must now examine the application before Albania can officially be granted candidate country status." which was submitted to the European Commission by Prime Minister Sali Berisha on April 14, 2010. Since June 24, 2014, Albania has been an official candidate for accession to the European Union. At the end of March 2020, the European Council decided to start accession negotiations. However, the concrete start of talks was blocked by the Netherlands in November 2020.


Moldova borders Romania and Ukraine. In 1992, the part east of the Dniester unilaterally split off as Transnistria. On 1 July 1998 the EU-Moldova Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) entered into force. Romania is trying to bring the neighboring country closer to European structures. In November 2013, Moldova signed an Association Agreement within the framework of the Eastern Partnership. The Economic and Political Association Agreement between Moldova and the EU was signed on June 27, 2014 in Brussels. Moldova has been a member of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) since September 1, 2014. On March 3, 2022, Moldova submitted an application to join the EU. Observers see a connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the EU membership applications from Georgia and Ukraine. After the Council of the European Union asked the EU Commission on March 7 to comment on the request, Moldova received questionnaires from the EU on April 11 and 19, 2022. Moldova submitted the answers as of May 12. On June 17, 2022, the Commission recommended granting Moldova candidate status. On June 23, at a summit in Brussels, the European Council granted Moldova candidate status together with Ukraine.


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