Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia, across the Baltic Sea lies Sweden in the west and Finland in the north. The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands and islets in the Baltic Sea, covering 45,339 km2 of land and water, and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 6500 BC, in 1988, during the Singing Revolution, the Estonian Supreme Soviet issued the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration in defiance of Soviet rule, and independence was restored on 20 August 1991. Estonia is a parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn, with a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, OECD and Schengen Area. Estonia is a country with an advanced, high-income economy that is among the fastest growing in the EU.
Its Human Development Index ranks very highly, and it performs favourably in measurements of economic freedom, civil liberties, the 2015 PISA test places Estonian high school students 3rd in the world, behind Singapore and Japan. Citizens of Estonia are provided with health care, free education. Since independence the country has developed its IT sector, becoming one of the worlds most digitally advanced societies. In 2005 Estonia became the first nation to hold elections over the Internet, in the Estonian language, the oldest known endonym of the Estonians was maarahvas, meaning country people or people of the land. The land inhabited by Estonians was called Maavald meaning Country Parish or Land Parish, one hypothesis regarding the modern name of Estonia is that it originated from the Aesti, a people described by the Roman historian Tacitus in his Germania. The historic Aesti were allegedly Baltic people, whereas the modern Estonians are Finno-Ugric, the geographical areas between Aesti and Estonia do not match, with Aesti being further down south.
Ancient Scandinavian sagas refer to a land called Eistland, as the country is called in Icelandic. Early Latin and other ancient versions of the name are Estia and Hestia, esthonia was a common alternative English spelling prior to 1921. Human settlement in Estonia became possible 13,000 to 11,000 years ago, the oldest known settlement in Estonia is the Pulli settlement, which was on the banks of the river Pärnu, near the town of Sindi, in south-western Estonia. According to radiocarbon dating it was settled around 11,000 years ago, the earliest human inhabitation during the Mesolithic period is connected to Kunda culture, which is named after the town of Kunda in northern Estonia. At that time the country was covered with forests, and people lived in communities near bodies of water
President of the European Council
The President of the European Council is a principal representative of the European Union on the world stage, and the person presiding over and driving forward the work of the European Council. This institution comprises the college of heads of state or government of EU member states as well as the President of the European Commission, appointments, as well as the removal of incumbents, require a double majority support in the European Council. On 19 November 2009, the European Council agreed that its first president under the Lisbon Treaty would be Herman Van Rompuy, Van Rompuy took office when the Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009 with a term stretching until 31 May 2012. His term was extended with a second period ending on 30 November 2014. The current president, for the term 1 December 2014 until 31 May 2017, is the former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and he was reelected on 9 March 2017. As the European Council is composed of leaders, it was chaired by the head of state or government of the Presidency state.
The European Constitution, drafted by the European Convention, outlined the President of the European Council as a longer term, the first president is expected to set the job description for future office holders as there is no clear idea of how the post would evolve. This would attract semi-retired leaders seeking a fitting climax to their career, however another opinion envisages a more pro-active President within the Union and speaking for it abroad. This post would hence be quickly fashioned into a de facto President of Europe and, unlike the first model, persons connected to this position would be more charismatic leaders. The appointment of Herman Van Rompuy indicated a desire to see the style of president. The Treaty of Lisbon doesnt define a process for the President of the Council. However, he faced large scale opposition for being from a large state outside the eurozone, minor opposition to other leaders such as Juncker led to their rejection. On 19 November 2009, Herman Van Rompuy, at that time Prime Minister of Belgium, was chosen to be appointed as the first full-time President of the European Council.
The formal decision on the appointment was made after the Treaty of Lisbon came into force, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said that he had unanimous backing from the 27 EU leaders at the summit in Brussels on the evening of 19 November 2009. Mr Brown praised Mr Van Rompuy as a builder who had brought a period of political stability to his country after months of uncertainty. Mr Van Rompuy has a reputation as a builder, having taken charge of the linguistically divided Belgian government. At a press conference after his appointment, Van Rompuy commented, a negotiation that ends with a defeated party is never a good negotiation. I will consider everyones interests and sensitivities, even if our unity remains our strength, our diversity remains our wealth, he said, stressing the individuality of EU member states
Politics of the European Union
The Politics of the European Union are different from other organisations and states due to the unique nature of the European Union. These areas are primarily under the control of the EUs member states although an amount of structured co-operation and coordination takes place in these areas. For the EU to take actions in these areas, all Member States must give their consent. The principle of subsidiarity does not apply to areas of exclusive competence, the common institutions mix the intergovernmental and supranational aspects of the EU. The EU treaties declare the EU to be based on representative democracy, the Parliament, together with the Council, form the legislative arm of the EU. The Council is composed of governments, thus representing the intergovernmental nature of the EU. Laws are proposed by the European Commission which is appointed by and accountable to the Parliament, although direct elections take place every five years, there are no cohesive political parties in the national sense.
Instead, there are alliances of ideologically associated parties who sit, the two largest parties are the European Peoples Party and the Party of European Socialists with the former forming the largest group in Parliament since 1999. The latter is stronger in northern Europe, especially the United Kingdom, legitimation of the European Union rests on the Treaty System. After World War Two, Europe sought to end conflict permanently between France and Germany, in the spirit of the Marshall Plan, those two nations signed the Treaty of Paris in 1951, establishing the European Coal and Steel Community. Since then, the Treaty of Paris, which focused on price setting, the legal basis for the European Community now rests on two treaties, The Treaty for the European Union of 1958, and The Treaty of Maastricht of 1992. The various additions and modifications of treaties has led to a patchwork of policy and planning, the pastiche of treaties, and not a single actualising charter of government, form the constitutional basis of the European Union.
This ambiguity is a cause of democratic deficit. The EU itself is a personality and a set of governing institutions empowered by the treaties. However sovereignty is not invested in those institutions, it is pooled with ultimate sovereignty resting with the national governments, yet in those areas where the EU has been granted competencies, it does have the power to pass binding and direct laws upon its members. The competencies of the European Union stem from the original Coal and Steel Community, the original competencies were regulatory in nature, restricted to matters of maintaining a healthy business environment. Rulings were confined to laws covering trade and competition, increases in the number of EU competencies result from a process known as functional spillover. Functional spillover resulted in, the integration of banking and insurance industries to manage finance, the size of the bureaucracies increased, requiring modifications to the treaty system as the scope of competencies integrated more and more functions
Institutions of the European Union
The institutions of the European Union are the seven principal decision making bodies of the European Union. Institutions are different from agencies of the European Union, most EU institutions were created with the establishment of the European Community in 1958. Much change since has been in the context the shifting of the balance away from the Council. The role of the Commission has often been to mediate between the two or tip the balance, however the Commission is becoming more accountable to the Parliament, in 1999 it forced the resignation of the Santer Commission and forced a reshuffle of the proposed Barroso Commission in 2004. The development of the institutions, with changes from treaties. Some such as Tom Reid of the Washington Post said of the institutions that nobody would have designed a government as complex. The first institutions were created at the start of the 1950s with the creation of the ECSC, based on the Schuman declaration, at its core was an independent executive called the High Authority with supranational powers over the Community.
The laws made by the Authority would be observed by a Court of Justice in order to ensure they were upheld, during the negotiations, two supervisory institutions were put forward to counterbalance the power of the High Authority. The Common Assembly proposed by Jean Monnet to act as a monitor, the second was the Council of Ministers, pushed by the smaller states to add an intergovernmental element and harmonise national policies with those of the authority. In 1957 the Treaties of Rome established two, communities creating a market and promoting atomic energy co-operation. The three institutions shared the Court of Justice and the Parliament, however they had a separate Council and High Authority, the reason for this is the different relationship between the Commission and Council. The three communities were merged in 1967, by the Merger Treaty, into the European Communities. The institutions were carried over from the European Economic Community, under the Treaties of Rome, the Common Assembly was supposed to become elected.
However this was delayed by the Council until 1979, since it gained more powers via successive treaties. The Maastricht Treaty gave powers to the Council by giving it a key role in the two new pillars of the EU which were based on intergovernmental principles. The 2009 Lisbon Treaty brought nearly all areas under the codecision procedure. The rules for the distribution of seats in the parliament were changed to a formula system, the High Representative merged with the European Commissioner for External Relations and joined the Commission. The appointment of the Commission President became dependent upon the last EU elections, the Council of Ministers adopted more qualified majority voting and the European Council was made a distinct institution with a permanent president
Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, the earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC, Cyprus was placed under British administration based on Cyprus Convention in 1878 and formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders, following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. On 15 July 1974, a coup détat was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis and these events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.
The Cyprus Republic has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus, as well as its territorial sea and exclusive economic area, another nearly 4% of the islands area is covered by the UN buffer zone. The international community considers the part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union. Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean, on 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone. The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th century BC Mycenaean Greek
President of the European Union
The post does not have executive powers like presidents in presidential systems such as the President of the United States of America. Letters of credentials for ambassadors of countries to the European Union are presented to the President of the European Council. The Commission Presidency has had fewer mentions using the term President of the European Union, the press frequently summarised these responsibilities to the shorthand tag EU Presidency or EU President, both for the country holding it or its political leader. Nevertheless, too, was a misnomer, there are other EU institution Presidents, but they do not hold the profile to have had the title applied to them. There is, simply, no President of the European Union as a whole, in protocol terms, it is the President of the Parliament who comes first, as it is the only directly elected institution and is listed first in the treaties. The question of whether the European Council or Commission President is more important has been potent since the creation by Lisbon.
Both attend international summits and since 2010 the Commission president has started to deliver State of the Union addresses, list of presidents of the institutions of the European Union Nedergaard, Jensen, Mads Dagnis. Varieties of trio presidencies in the Council of Ministers, EU website - European Union Presidents
The Czech Republic, known as Czechia, is a nation state in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres with mostly temperate continental climate and it is a unitary parliamentary republic, has 10.5 million inhabitants and the capital and largest city is Prague, with over 1.2 million residents. The Czech Republic includes the territories of Bohemia, Moravia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire, after the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as part of the Holy Roman Empire, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria, the Protestant Bohemian Revolt against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years War.
After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, reimposed Roman Catholicism, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, and was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Czech country lost the majority of its German-speaking inhabitants after they were expelled following the war, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections. Following the 1948 coup détat, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence, in 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed, on 6 March 1990, the Czech Socialistic Republic was renamed to the Czech Republic. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004, it is a member of the United Nations, the OECD, the OSCE, and it is a developed country with an advanced, high income economy and high living standards. The UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development, the Czech Republic ranks as the 6th most peaceful country, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union, the traditional English name Bohemia derives from Latin Boiohaemum, which means home of the Boii. The current name comes from the endonym Čech, spelled Cžech until the reform in 1842. The name comes from the Slavic tribe and, according to legend, their leader Čech, the etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning member of the people, thus making it cognate to the Czech word člověk. The country has traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the southeast, and Czech Silesia in the northeast.
Following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia at the end of 1992, the Czech part of the former nation found itself without a common single-word geographical name in English, the name Czechia /ˈtʃɛkiə/ was recommended by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country, at 44°25′57″N 26°06′14″E, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km north of the Danube River, Bucharest was first mentioned in documents in 1459. It became the capital of Romania in 1862 and is the centre of Romanian media and its architecture is a mix of historical, communist-era and modern. In the period between the two World Wars, the citys elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of Little Paris. Although buildings and districts in the city centre were heavily damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes. In recent years, the city has been experiencing an economic, in 2016, the historical city centre was listed as endangered by the World Monuments Watch. According to the 2011 census,1,883,425 inhabitants live within the city limits, the urban area extends beyond the limits of Bucharest proper and has a population of about 1.9 million people.
Adding the satellite towns around the area, the proposed metropolitan area of Bucharest would have a population of 2.27 million people. According to Eurostat, Bucharest has an urban zone of 2,183,091 residents. According to unofficial data, the population is more than 3 million, Bucharest is the sixth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits, after London, Madrid and Paris. Economically, Bucharest is the most prosperous city in Romania and is one of the industrial centres. The city has big convention facilities, educational institutes, cultural venues, traditional shopping arcades, the Romanian name București has an uncertain origin. Tradition connects the founding of Bucharest with the name of Bucur, who was a prince, an outlaw, a fisherman, in Romanian, the word stem bucurie means joy, and it is believed to be of Dacian origin. Other etymologies are given by scholars, including the one of an Ottoman traveler, Evliya Çelebi. A native or resident of Bucharest is called a Bucharester, Bucharests history alternated periods of development and decline from the early settlements in antiquity until its consolidation as the national capital of Romania late in the 19th century.
First mentioned as the Citadel of București in 1459, it became the residence of the famous Wallachian prince Vlad III the Impaler, the Ottomans appointed Greek administrators to run the town from the 18th century. A short-lived revolt initiated by Tudor Vladimirescu in 1821 led to the end of the rule of Constantinople Greeks in Bucharest, the Old Princely Court was erected by Mircea Ciobanul in the mid-16th century. Under subsequent rulers, Bucharest was established as the residence of the royal court
It consists of, a press center, a newly rebuilt edifice called the Space Egg or Lantern, and the Lex. The Space Egg is for use by the European Council mainly, to the east lies the main Council building, Justus Lipsius. To the north, across the Rue de la Loi, lie the Berlaymont, the main Council room is - just like in the old Justus Lipsius - windowless. Walloon businessman Lucien Kaisin planned the following the end of the First World War. It was to be an apartment block for the bourgeoisie. It was intended to address the shortage of workers at the time by having them available to all residents. Kaisin described the building as a town within a city. The building was designed by a Swiss architect, Michel Polak, the foundation stone of the Art Deco building was laid on 30 May 1923 with the first residents moving in in 1927. Associated facilities included a hall, a swimming pool and other commercial services such as a restaurant. It was a housing collective for the most privileged layers of society.
The building has partly been listed as a historic monument, the building only had a short commercial success. In 1940 tenants were forced to leave, as the building was requisitioned as the headquarters of the occupying German army during the Nazi occupation of Belgium during the Second World War. In September 1944, after the liberation of Brussels, the building was taken over as headquarters for SHAEF, after the War the building was turned into administrative offices for the Belgian state. Finally, in 1988, the part of the building was demolished to make way for the construction of the Justus Lipsius building. The original façades of the Résidence Palace building, the entrances, today the various blocks are used for mixed purposes. The Belgian government bought the complex in 1947 and used Bloc A for administrative offices, Bloc B and Bloc C have in recent years served as an international press centre used by journalists for their coverage of activities related to the major European Union institutions nearby. A pre-war period swimming pool, a theatre and a restaurant have been maintained, apartments are now being built in the courtyard to the south of bloc B.
In 2004, a made by the Belgian government that Bloc A of the Résidence Palace be taken over by the Council of the European Union
Government of Romania
The Government of Romania forms one half of the executive branch of the government of Romania. It is headed by the Prime Minister of Romania, and consists of the ministries, various subordinated institutions and agencies, the seat of the Romanian Government is at Victoria Palace in Bucharest. The Government is appointed by the President of Romania on the basis of the vote of confidence granted to the Government by the Parliament of Romania, the current government is led by Sorin Grindeanu. A member of the Social Democratic Party, he was nominated by the leader of the party, Liviu Dragnea, two days later, President Klaus Iohannis officially appointed him Prime Minister-designate. He assumed office on 4 January 2017, if no such majority exists, the President consults all the parties represented in Parliament. Once nominated, the candidate establishes a list of members and a government platform, the 10-day interval is not a strict deadline, rather it represents the time period deemed optimal to establish a competent legal Government.
The expiry of this allows the President to revoke the candidate and designate a new one. Once the candidate has formed a list and a program, he can ask for the Parliaments vote of confidence, the Parliament debates upon the matter in joint sitting, and can only reject proposals twice in a span of 60 days. If Parliament fails to approve a candidate within this time period, should the Parliament grant its vote of confidence, the proposed political platform becomes official, and the full list of Government must be confirmed by the President. The Government is sworn in and begins its term, the Government is organized and functions in accordance with the Constitution, based on Government Program approved by Parliament. To achieve the goals stipulated in the Government Program, the Romanian Government performs the functions of strategizing, administering and exercising the state authority, the role of the Government is sanctioned by the Constitution and by relevant laws. The Government answers exclusively to Parliament, both through compulsory information of Parliament and through questions and inquiry committees, a Chamber of Parliament may carry a simple motion with regards to the subject matter of an interpellation.
In extreme cases, the Parliament may vote a motion of censure, withdrawing its confidence, through a special habilitation law, the Government may be enabled to issue ordinances, which have the same legal force as ordinary laws. Ordinances are a form of legislative delegation, and may require approval in Parliament if the law states so. The Constitution of Romania provides for two types of members, namely ministers and the Prime Minister. The statute of additional members is established by organic law, current legislation establishes the positions of deputy prime minister, state minister and ministers delegated with special tasks. State minister is a position, the holder of which coordinates the activity of various ministries under the direction of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is the leader of Government and coordinates its activity, the Prime Ministers office itself consists of the Prime Ministers Cabinet, the body of his state-secretaries and state-counselors, and the Prime Ministers Registry
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the third of the seven institutions of the European Union as listed in the Treaty on European Union. It is part of the essentially bicameral EU legislature and represents the governments of the EUs member states. It is based in the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, the Council meets in 10 different configurations of 28 national ministers. The continuity between presidencies is provided by an arrangement under which three successive presidencies, known as Presidency trios, share common political programmes, the Foreign Affairs Council is however chaired by the Unions High Representative. Its decisions are made by qualified majority voting in most areas, usually where it operates unanimously, it only needs to consult the Parliament. In a few limited areas the Council may initiate new EU law itself, the Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union. The Secretariat is divided into seven directorates-general, each administered by a director-general, the Council first appeared in the European Coal and Steel Community as the Special Council of Ministers, set up to counterbalance the High Authority.
The original Council had limited powers, issues relating only to coal and steel were in the Authoritys domain, as a whole, the Council only scrutinised the High Authority. In 1957, the Treaties of Rome established two new communities, and with two new Councils, the Council of the European Atomic Energy Community and the Council of the European Economic Community. However, due to objections over the power of the Authority, their Councils had more powers. In 1965 the Council was hit by the empty chair crisis, due to disagreements between French President Charles de Gaulle and the Commissions agriculture proposals, among other things, France boycotted all meetings of the Council. This halted the Councils work until the impasse was resolved the following year by the Luxembourg compromise, although initiated by a gamble of the President of the Commission, Walter Hallstein, who on lost the Presidency, the crisis exposed flaws in the Councils workings. In 1993, the Council adopted the name Council of the European Union and that treaty strengthened the Council, with the addition of more intergovernmental elements in the three pillars system.
However, at the time the Parliament and Commission had been strengthened inside the Community pillar. The Treaty of Lisbon abolished the system and gave further powers to Parliament. It merged the Councils High Representative with the Commissions foreign policy head, the development of the Council has been characterised by the rise in power of the Parliament, with which the Council has had to share its legislative powers. The Parliament has often provided opposition to the Councils wishes and this has in some cases led to clashes between both bodies with the Councils system of intergovernmentalism contradicting the developing parliamentary system and supranational principles. The primary purpose of the Council is to act as one of the two chambers of the EUs legislative branch, the chamber being the European Parliament
Member state of the European Union
The European Union comprises 28 member states. Each member state is party to the treaties of the union and thereby subject to the privileges. Unlike members of most international organisations, the states of the EU are subjected to binding laws in exchange for representation within the common legislative. Member states must agree unanimously for the EU to adopt policies concerning defence, subsidiarity is a founding principle of the EU. In 1957, six core states founded the EUs predecessor, the European Economic Community, the remaining states have acceded in subsequent enlargements. On 1 July 2013, Croatia became the newest member state of the EU, Enlargement of the Union is contingent upon the consent of all existing members and the candidates adoption of the existing body of EU law, known as the acquis communautaire. There is disparity in the size and political system of member states, while in some areas majority voting takes place where larger states have more votes than smaller ones, smaller states have disproportional representation compared to their population.
No member state has withdrawn or been suspended from the EU, in June 2016, the UK held a referendum on membership of the EU, resulting in 51. 89% of votes cast in favour to leaving. Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50 on 29 March 2017 to formally initiate the withdrawal process, notes Enlargement is, and has been, a principal feature of the Unions political landscape. The EUs predecessors were founded by the Inner Six, those willing to forge ahead with the Community while others remained skeptical. It was only a decade before the first countries changed their policy and attempted to join the Union, French President Charles de Gaulle feared British membership would be an American Trojan horse and vetoed its application. Applying in 1969 were the United Kingdom, Denmark, however, declined to accept the invitation to become a member when the electorate voted against it, leaving just the UK, Ireland and Denmark to join. But despite the setbacks, and the withdrawal of Greenland from Denmarks membership in 1985, in 1987, the geographical extent of the project was tested when Morocco applied, and was rejected as it was not considered a European country.
The year 1990 saw the Cold War drawing to a close, the members of the former Eastern Bloc and Yugoslavia were all starting to move towards EU membership. Ten of these joined in an enlargement on 1 May 2004 symbolising the unification of East. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007, the year 2013 saw the latest member, accede to the Union, and the EU has prioritised membership for the rest of the Balkans – namely Western Balkans. Albania, Montenegro and Turkey are all formal, turkish membership, pending since the 1980s, is a more contentious issue but it entered negotiations in 2005. According to the Copenhagen criteria, membership of the European Union is open to any European country that is a stable, free market liberal democracy that respects the rule of law and human rights