The geopolitical restructuring in Europe in response to the Russian war of aggression has also reinvigorated the EU’s enlargement policy. The acceleration of long-deadlocked accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia and the granting of candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine represent a “Zeitenwende” of its own. At the same time, italso poses the significant challenge of maintaining the momentum without watering down accession criteria or limiting the decision-making capabilities of an enlarged EU.
In this policy brief, Dr Funda Tekin takes stock of the new political dynamic of the enlargement process and the challenges that remain. She outlines a roadmap for the next enlargement rounds based on a package deal between widening and deepening. In addition, a differentiation of the enlargement process is needed. Furthermore, EU enlargement policy should relate to the variable geometries that structure wider Europe without losing sight of the membership perspective. The German government must develop a respective strategy now and promote it among like-minded European partners.