21 Dec 2023 - 31 May 2024
Europe, Trade, economic integration and globalization

How the EU should prepare for the enlargement in terms of governance, policies and investments: options and choices made from a territorial perspective

In its 2023 enlargement package, the European Commission recommended that the Council open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. Moreover, it recommended that the Council grant Georgia the status of candidate country and open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria has been achieved. 

The study will focus on the impact of the enlargement process on key policies for Europe's regions and cities, as well as on the role of local and regional authorities in the future European Union. A large-scale enlargement will be taken as a basis, e.g., the transition from the 27 current Member States to possibly 30 or even more. The study will focus on how to best prepare and reform the investment policies that are most important to EU cities and regions as a result of the enlargement. 

More specifically, the study will identify: 

(a) how enlargement could affect specific policy areas, with consequences for local and regional authorities. In this context, particular attention will be paid to (i) future development and reform scenarios for cohesion policy (and funding instruments), and (ii) the common agricultural policy, both fundamental policies for Europeans; 

(b) the possible impact of any future enlargement on the allocation of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) at regional and local level and consequently the investment capacity of cities and regions, taking into account possible adaptations and reforms of current financing instruments; and 

(c) the key institutional reforms needed from a governance perspective to enhance the role of local and regional authorities in an enlarged EU. 

As far as possible, the study will take into account the upcoming European Commission's documents on pre-enlargement policy reviews and possible reforms. The conclusions of this study will inform the EU's local and regional authorities about some potential consequences of any large-scale enlargement and will propose recommendations on approaches and reforms to address the challenges thrown up by enlargement. The conclusions will also serve as a valuable tool for the enlargement-related work undertaken by CoR members. The study's findings will also be used for the CoR's EU Annual Report on the State of Regions and Cities. 

Project sponsor: The European Committee of the Regions

Project Leader: CASE