Linkevičius: EU enlargement is a strategic choice of countries seeking EU membership
On 17 April, the European Commission published the annual Enlargement package, as well as assessed progress on reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius highlighted the importance of the EU open door policy and welcomed progress made by South-eastern European countries.
“A credible EU enlargement policy contributes to the promotion of peace, stability and security in the EU neighbourhood, good neighbourly relations, and European values. All countries seeking EU membership have the opportunity of moving forward on their European paths, if they demonstrate a strong political will to implement real and sustainable reforms, and to finally resolve their disputes with neighbouring countries,” Linkevičius said.
The Commission's Communication notes that the EU enlargement process is assessed based on individual achievements by countries seeking membership in the European Union and on strict but fair requirements for implementing decisive reforms, particularly in the fields of the rule of law, fundamental rights, democratic institutions, public administration, and economy.
Linkevičius emphasized that the EU enlargement was not only a technical process, but also a strategic choice of countries seeking EU membership, which required respect for EU values and principles, including a full alignment of candidate countries with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The head of Lithuania’s diplomacy welcomed the European Commission’s recommendation to open negotiations on the EU membership with Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
“The two countries have made significant progress in implementing all necessary reforms, enabling them to move forward on their respective European paths,” Lithuania’s Foreign Minister said.
For more information about the Enlargement package 2018, please click here.