Enlargement strategy and main challenges ... Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council.
wenty years ago, the Western Balkans were torn by conflict. At the same time, the European Union agreed the conditions, known as the Copenhagen criteria, for entry of future Member States into the EU. The Copenhagen criteria reflect the values on which the EU is founded: democracy, the rule of law, respect for fundamental rights, as well as the importance of a functioning market economy. This paved the way for the historic transformation and accession of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Ten years later, at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003, the EU granted all countries of the Western Balkans a clear perspective of EU membership, subject to fulfilment of the necessary conditions, in particular the Copenhagen criteria and the conditions of the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP).