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War In Ukraine: Possible New Countries In The European Union

The war in Ukraine opens the doors for new countries to enter the European Union.

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Photo: Adobe Stock - napa74

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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After the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the European Union has again considered new applications from different countries to be part of it. Ukraine itself, Moldova, and Georgia are added to the list. However, these are not the only countries that are waiting to join the group.

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Although the road seems long, because the average time in which applications are accepted is 18 months, several member countries of the European Union have asked for special speed due to the situation experienced by Ukrainians, and possibly Georgians and Moldovans.

These are all the candidates for the European Union:

Albania

Albania started its process in 2009. This process has progressed to the start of accession negotiations at the same time as the Republic of North Macedonia. However, currently, only Greece has ratified the agreement. Its main challenges are political and economic stability. Therefore, they will have to fulfill several parameters so that they can enter the group.

Turkey

This country is the most controversial candidate to enter the European Union. His accession represents a change in the mentality of the entire group and has been a matter of contention due to various issues. First, it would become one of the largest European economies due to the size of its population, and it would also represent a drastic change in demographic composition, being the first country with a Muslim majority (if it were to enter before Albania or Bosnia) and one of the most populated. This could be controversial as the xenophobic and Islamophobic speeches of some groups.

Likewise, economic, democratic, and human rights stability sow unknowns within several European groups. And finally, if it joined, the European Union would have a direct border with countries like Iraq, Syria, and Iran.

Turkey has been a candidate since 1999 (it began its process in 1987) and it is considered that it sufficiently meets the criteria to start the accession negotiation. However, during the current government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, there seems to have been a slowdown in the inclusion of the Eurasian country. In 2019, the European Parliament even voted on this issue.

Serbian

The Balkan republic submitted its application for membership on December 19, 2009. Currently, out of a total of 35 negotiation chapters, negotiations have begun on 22, of which 2 have already been provisionally closed, according to information from Consilum Europa.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
It submitted its application in 2016. However, the European Council in 2019 mandated 14 essential priorities for the country to continue the accession process.

Montenegrin

This small Balkan country has been in the accession process since December 15, 2008. In 2020, out of a total of thirty-five negotiation chapters, negotiations have been initiated on thirty-three chapters, of which three have already been provisionally closed.

North Macedonia

The country began its accession process in 2005 when it was accepted as a candidate. However, it was not until 2019 that he managed to resolve a diplomatic dispute with Greece due to the former name of the republic (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). For now, it has the label of a candidate country and must satisfy the European conditions to be a member.

Conditions that countries must meet to become members

For the European Union to accept a new country as a member, the process is long, complex, and difficult. Turkey has been in the process for more than 20 years and has not been able to obtain the majority of support. Just the fact that the European Commission makes a technical evaluation has taken about nine months. However, for the candidatures of Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, the process was accelerated due to ongoing internal pressures. However, the most that it would obtain for now is the status of a candidate country, the rest of the process is expected to be slow since they will have to satisfy the basic conditions in political, economic, judicial, fiscal, institutional, etc. matters. This could be much more difficult for a country like Ukraine, during a war with Russia.

The most recent member of the European Union, Croatia, took from 2003 to 2013 to be considered a member. However, Croatia is considered a strong economy, with a much more stable political situation than that of the other applicants.