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EU Membership

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 29 January 2019

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Questions (147)

Bernard Durkan


147. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the degree to which countries applying for European Union membership continue to observe the acquis communautaire; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4407/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The EU has opened formal negotiations with two countries in the Western Balkans: Montenegro and Serbia. Both of these countries opened new negotiating chapters at their respective Accession Conferences in Brussels in December 2018. Montenegro now has 32 of 35 opened chapters, while, for Serbia, that number is 16. Further Accession Conferences will be planned, as appropriate, in order to take the process forward in the first half of 2019.

Progress has also been made in both the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania. The June 2018 Council conclusions on Enlargement set out the path toward opening accession negotiations with both countries in June 2019 subject to progress.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the commitment to advance on the European path needs to be translated urgently into comprehensive reform results on the ground.

Kosovo is at an early stage of its EU path – it is essential that greater efforts are made to build consensus across the political spectrum to advance Kosovo's European agenda and to accelerate the implementation of the required comprehensive reforms.

With regard to Turkey, Ireland has, together with its EU partners, expressed its serious concerns regarding the situation with respect to human rights, freedom of expression, rule of law, and democracy in the country. The EU still considers Turkey as a "key partner", and it formally remains a candidate for EU membership, but given the current circumstances, the June 2018 Council conclusions on Enlargement noted that Turkey has been moving further away from the European Union, stating that accession negotiations have effectively come to a standstill and that no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing at this point in time. Neither is any further work toward the modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union foreseen.