The enlargement process is not completed. Currently, accession negotiations with five candidate countries such as Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are under way. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are potential candidate states.
Austria supports in particular the efforts undertaken by the countries of the Western Balkans for joining the EU. Austria has been one of the main beneficiaries of the so-called Eastern enlargements of 2004 and 2007 and is in a pole position for the Western Balkans. Especially Austrian businesses have early recognized and seized the opportunities in these countries: Today, Austria is the largest foreign investor in Serbia as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina and among the top foreign investors in the remaining countries of the Western Balkan region. This goes hand in hand with the creation of jobs in Austria. Especially during periods of economic downturn, enlargement can offer new opportunities for people and businesses, thus supporting economic recovery and growth.
Albania submitted the formal application for EU membership in 2009. In June 2014, Albania was granted the EU candidate status. The next step will be the official opening of accession negotiations.
Macedonia applied for EU membership in 2004 and was granted candidate status in December 2005. The European Commission has repeatedly recommended the opening of accession negotiations. Some EU Member States argue that a satisfying solution to the pending name issue has to be found before the negotiations can be launched.
Montenegro submitted the formal application for EU membership in 2008, two years after declaring her independence. Montenegro was granted the candidate status in 2010. Accession negotiations were formally opened in June 2012.
Serbia submitted the formal application for EU membership in 2009 and was granted candidate status in March 2012. Accession negotiations were opened in January 2014.
Turkey already submitted the formal application for EU membership in 1987. Accession negotiations have been held since 2005. The relatively slow pace of the accession negotiations compared to other countries reflects the complex reform process in Turkey.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has - as is the case for Kosovo - been identified as potential candidate for EU membership and has submitted her EU membership application on 15 February 2016, which was forwarded to the European Commission in September 2016. Currently bosnian-herzegovinian institutions are working on their reply to the European Union’s questionnaire, which will serve as the basis for the “avis” of the European Commission. As a next step, the Council could decide on a candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina.