The prospects for progress in the process of accession to the European Union (EU) primarily revolve around two core areas: enhancing domestic readiness within the candidate countries in the Western Balkans as well as Ukraine and Moldova, and adapting the EU’s enlargement toolbox to ensure the accession process is effective and irreversible. Nonetheless, the EU has encountered significant challenges in motivating Türkiye and 6 Western Balkan countries to undertake comprehensive reforms within and align with the policy framework encompassing 33 chapters of the EU enlargement process. Montenegro, Serbia and Türkiye are the only three countries that managed to open chapters of negotiations, while Montenegro is the only candidate state that has opened all 33 chapters, closing 3 of them provisionally.
Drawing from the accession experiences of both Türkiye and the Western Balkan states, the EU has gleaned valuable lessons that should be applied to the (pre-)accession dialogue with Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. This is particularly relevant as all three Eastern Partnership countries (EaP) have been incorporated into the revised enlargement package of the EU. The circulating proposals to revise the 2020 enlargement methodology introduce new elements for consideration by EU institutions and Member States (MSs). These factors come into play as Ukraine and Moldova’s compliance with EU conditionality for the initiation of accession negotiations is under examination.