24th Oct 2016

Warnings against enlargement delay

During the plenary session on Wednesday, Commissioner for enlargement, Günter Verheugen, and Spanish Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ramon de Miguel, warned of a delay in enlargement if the 15 EU member states fail to reach an agreement on direct payments before the end of this year. "Countries blocking the enlargement should be held responsible", de Miguel stressed. The Danish Presidency has a tight deadline, and wants an agreement on direct payments by the Brussels Council on the 24-25 October, otherwise it envisages problems. This, however, would leave only 6 weeks for the candidate countries to negotiate the financial package.

Verheugen: benefits of enlargement do not come for free

The 15 EU member states have managed to reach a common position on all the issues except that of direct payments, since four member states, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK, which are the net-payers, claim that direct payments are not part of the acquis and thus should not be granted to the new member states.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen said that it is not surprising that the issue of direct payments has created difficulties, however he urged member states to show solidarity. "It is about the distribution of the burden. I think that the citizens of Europe should be told that they will not get the considerable political and economical benefits of enlargement for free. The costs of enlargement should be thoroughly discussed. But then also the costs of non-enlargement!", Verheugen said. "Delays can always happen. But I warn against a delay that would result from the fact that the Member States could not agree among themselves."

Spanish Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ramon de Miguel, said that the issue of direct payments, cannot be left pending until late. "It is a matter of principle." Günter Verheugen also reiterated the Commission's position that direct payments are part of the acquis. "An argument to the contrary cannot be taken seriously", he said.

Candidates will have only few weeks to negotiate financial package

During the debate, various MEPs called on the member states to find a speedy solution to this issue, in order to stick to the enlargement timetable. Socialist MEP Simon Francis Murphy said that the "passion has gone out from enlargement and has become a technical exercise." He said that the Council seems to be dragging its feet and urged member states not to link CAP reform with enlargement. Liberal MEP Graham Watson, however, said that an agreement in autumn is too late as it will jeopardise the entry of new member states. Green MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit urged reform of the EU before enlargement, as it would be impossible for the EU to operate in its present form.

In ight of the current situation, the Danish Presidency has planed a strict and tight timetable in order to be able to stick to the enlargement roadmap and end negotiations by the end of the year. It plans to have an agreement reached between the EU15 by the EU Brussels Council in October, which would leave only about 6 weeks for the candidate countries to negotiate the financial package until the Copenhagen Summit on the 12-13 December. However, since the timetable is a tight one, any delay in agreement is set to create a serious problem.


Serbia and the convenient spy

The manufactured cold war between Croatia and Serbia has been a convenient distraction from some of Serbia's domestic problems.


EU's Kosovo meddling risks Balkans chaos

The EU and the US are is unfairly pressuring Kosovo to ratify a border deal with Montenegro against the will of the opposition. It could bring trouble to the Western Balkans region.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity