Will new members join the EU in 2020?
Croatia, the youngest EU member, vowed to advocate for the bloc's Balkan enlargement, and pledged to work for “a strong Europe in a world of challenges” in the upcoming six months, after taking over the European Council's rotating presidency on Jan. 1.
The Croatian chairmanship promises to concentrate its work on four main domains -- including "influential Europe", "developing Europe", "connecting Europe", and "Europe that protects".
This priority embraces the country’s strong commitment to the EU’s enlargement policy for the Western Balkans. In May 2020, the EU-Western Balkans Summit will be held in Zagreb and the Croatian presidency hopes to relaunch the stalled process by the end of its term.
In October’s summit, EU leaders failed to give the green light for starting the accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia due to strong opposition of France. Based on recommendations of Paris, the accession procedure might be reviewed in the first months of the year so that accession talks could begin with the two countries.
Accelerating the ongoing negotiations with Serbia and bringing Bosnia-Herzegovina closer to accession make also part of the enlargement agenda. But it might be a challenge for the Croatian government to come over the disagreements with its neighbors when representing the interest of the entire EU.