Josep Borrell: EU enlargement needs Western Balkans partners to strengthen democracy and the EU to deliver on its commitments


The European Commission adopted the 2021 Enlargement Package providing a detailed assessment of the state of play and the progress made by the Western Balkans and Turkey on their respective paths towards the European Union.

© Commission Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations


The 2021 Enlargement report has a particular focus on implementing fundamental reforms, as well as clear guidance on the reform priorities ahead.

As the EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “We have to maintain a credible enlargement process. This is a two-way street: The new methodology is a merit-based approach. It puts a stronger focus on fundamental reforms, such as rule of law, fundamental freedoms, economy and functioning of democratic institutions.

He concluded: “On the EU side, we need to deliver on our commitments. The EU is not complete without the Western Balkans. It’s time we come together and unite in building a stronger Europe. ”

2021 Enlargement report for the Western Balkans

The Enlargement report was adopted by the College of the Commissioners on 19 October 2021.

This adoption was preceded by the visit of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to the region and the EU-Western Balkans Summit held on 6 October 2021 at Brdo, Slovenia, which confirmed that the Western Balkan’s future lies within the European Union.

The European Union has a clear and strategic commitment to the region. This was demonstrated by the continued support on COVID-19 response and by putting forward a historic Economic and Investment Plan and Green Agenda for the Western Balkans to bring forward a more sustainable, green, digital, innovative and people-focused growth to benefit the region and Europe as a whole.

Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi presented the report at the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AfEt):

The report was adopted in line with the new revised enlargement methodology. The new methodology strengthens a merit-based approach putting a stronger focus on fundamental reforms enhancing the credibility of the process.

Following the adoption of the package, the Council will need to consider the Commission’s recommendations and take decisions on the steps ahead.

For More Information

2021 Enlargement package: European Commission assesses and sets out reform priorities for the Western Balkans and Turkey