In early October, the European Commission published its annual enlargement package, assessing the progress made by (potential) candidate countries to join the European Union. Among those is Turkey – a candidate that, since 2016, has structurally moved away from the democratisation reforms expected by the EU. Yet, despite the lack of any realistic prospect for accession, and negotiations effectively having been halted, no efforts are being made towards formally suspending the country’s accession talks. This sends the wrong signal to those candidate countries, notably Serbia, for whom negotiations are ongoing but which have in past years also stagnated or even regressed in terms of democratic reforms.
In this alert we argue that if the EU wants to remain credible, it should start by formally suspending the accession process with Turkey. Such a step is needed to send a clear signal to all candidate countries that discarding the spirit of European integration has clear consequences.