Template 2.0 for Staged Accession to the EU

Template 2.0 for Staged Accession to the EU

Authors: Milena Mihajlović, Steven Blockmans, Michael Emerson, Strahinja Subotić

The Template for Staged Accession to the EU was first published in the autumn of 2021, following the European Commission’s publication of the revised enlargement methodol­ogy and the persistently stagnating accession process of the Western Balkan countries. The necessity to adapt EU enlargement policy has become ever more pronounced since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The geopolitical imperative for EU enlargement has prompted numerous proposals but ‘Staged Accession’ remains the only model which provides a predictable way forward for all present and future membership candidates in parallel with internal reforms aimed at smooth functioning of an enlarged EU.

Emerging from wide-ranging consultations and a series of issue papers that delved into the specific elements of the Model, this revised Template 2.0 presents a comprehensive proposal on how to amend the EU’s current accession policy. It presents the overall struc­ture of the Staged Accession Model, with new specifications on the EU’s ‘fundamentals first’ approach. It lays out the ‘essential elements’ of the proposal, which the authors consider the bare minimum a new enlargement policy revision would need to entail to achieve the Model’s objectives.

This paper is published as a part of the Support for further development of the model of the Western Balkans staged accession to the European Union’, a collaboration between CEPS and the European Policy Centre (CEP), based in Belgrade.