EU enlargement: In search of the next Croatia

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EU enlargement: In search of the next Croatia

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Croatia’s ‘Yes’ vote to join the European Union puts it on course to be the club’s 28th member in July 2013. But the low turnout last Sunday suggests the EU does not have the X-factor it once did.

Less than half of Croatians eligible to took part in the referendum, even if 66 percent vote in favour. While it is unclear if that lack of support was down to Europe’s debt troubles, it raises the question: which country will be next and will there be the desire to join?

The rules for EU entry are much tougher today than they once were. While Croatia has managed to meet the requirements, a host of other candidates, including many Balkan states, continue to wait in the wings.

Of all the prospective countries, it is Iceland which tops the list of the most likely to join – mainly as its economy is more in line with the rest of the EU.

There is also the question of the bloc’s eastern neighbours, like Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. All have EU aspirations, even if Brussels considers them nowhere near ready yet.

To get an idea of where Europe is on this issue, euronews spoke to the EU’s enlargement chief, Stefan Fuele. Click on the link above to watch the full interview.