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External Relations - EU Enlargement: a successful policy

Since its founding, the European Union has been in an ongoing process of enlargement (1973: Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom; 1981: Greece; 1986: Spain, Portugal; 1995: Austria, Finland, Sweden; 2004: Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic; 2007: Bulgaria, Romania, 2013: Croatia). The enlargement process has become one of the EU’s most successful policies, proving the attractive nature of the Union and ensuring stability and security.

A European perspective is one of the main incentives for countries to make ongoing efforts toward domestic reform with the aim of adopting European standards and the common values of the Union.

The enlargement process is governed by article 49 of the Treaty for the European Union. The principles and regulations that govern the enlargement process are set out in detail in the EU’s Negotiating Frameworks, which are formulated separately for each of the candidate countries starting accession negotiations.

Accession negotiations are currently under way with Turkey, Montenegro and Serbia.

Last Updated Wednesday, 16 March 2016