In the words of a European Commission official: “For the first time in four years, we don’t have (an autumn) crisis in the EU over Turkey.” This came just before progress reports were published for EU candidates and other hopefuls.
But Ankara’s lack of movement on freedom of expression and religion comes in for criticism.
Insufficiencies are also noted regarding civilian control over the military and the rights of women, minorities and trade unions.
Europe’s enlargement commissioner is further expected to warn that ethnically-related political problems are blocking progress towards joining the EU in several Western Balkan countries.
Aides in Brussels say the reports will mark progress in Croatia. But Zagreb and other governments in the region will be urged to do more to reform their justice systems and fight widespread corruption and organised crime.
Bosnia’s failure to enact a key police reform and Serbia’s lack of full cooperation with the U.N. war crimes tribunal have stalled both those countries’ progress on even first-level agreements with the EU.