Enlargement is one of the most established policies of the EU. There have been 6 successful waves of enlargement: 1973 (Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom); 1981 (Greece); 1986 (Spain and Portugal); 1995 (Austria, Finland and Sweden); 2004 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia); 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania), and 2013 (Croatia).
The legal basis of the enlargement policy of the EU is Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, which stipulates that any European State which respects the EU values referred to in Article 2 of the Treaty and is committed to promoting them may apply to become a member of the Union.
The renewed consensus on enlargement agreed by the December 2006 European Council continues to guide the EU's enlargement policy. It is based on consolidation of commitments, fair and rigorous conditionality and better communication, together with the capacity to integrate new members. On 17 December 2013 the Council adopted conclusions on the EU's enlargement policy and on the stabilisation and association process for the Western Balkans, in which the Council reaffirmed the strong support of the EU for taking the enlargement process forward on the basis of the agreed principles and conclusions. The Council also adopted the General EU position on accession negotiations with Serbia, including the negotiating framework, and agreed that the first intergovernmental conference with Serbia would take place in January 2014.
The current wave of enlargement includes: Turkey (a negotiating country since October 2005), Iceland (since July 2010), Montenegro (since June 2012) and Serbia (since January 2014).
Regarding other countries, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been a candidate country since December 2005. The EU has also received an application from Albania in 2009
The European Council of Thessaloniki on 19/20 June 2003 reiterated its determination to fully and effectively support the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries, which will become an integral part of the EU, once they meet the established criteria.
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