Albania is currently a potential candidate for EU membership. It has signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, which entered into force on January 4, 2009. Albania submitted its application for membership to the Council on April 28, 2009l. On May 27, 2010 the European Commission proposed visa-free travel for the citizens of Albania, an important step towards EU integration. The proposal (memo/10/218) will enable Albanian citizens to travel to Schengen countries without a short-term visa.
In November, 2010, the Commission recomended that Albanian citizens be granted visa-free travel to EU member states, since the Albanian government suceeded in meeting the necessary conditions. However, the Commission did not recommend that Albania become an official Candidate, primarily for not meeting political and democratic standards.
The recent local elections, held on May 8, 2011, are being contested by the opposition, led by Edi Rama of the Socialist Party. Sabine Freizer writes: "After the Central Election Commission (CEC) -- dominated by the Democratic Party (DP), which is part of the coalition behind Basha -- decided to change the counting procedure on 18 May, Rama and his Socialist supporters began threatening large scale protests. Minor clashes occurred between SP Members of Parliament and the police in front of the CEC immediately after announcement of the postponement. Two SP deputies are now under investigation for fomenting violence. There were more disturbances on 19 May." The entire story can be found here:
Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently a potential candidate for EU membership, based on the committment made by the EU at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003. A Stabilization and Association Agreement was negotiated between Bosnia and the EU in 2005, initialled in 2007, and signed in 2008. In the summer of 2008 the Interim Agreement on trade and trade related issues was signed and entered into force. Most recently in May of 2010, the European Commission adopted a proposal enabling citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina to travel to Schengen countries without needing a short term visa.
Croatia is a Candidate for EU membership and is currently in negotiation with the Commission, which is the process by which the EU determines whether a candidate has fulfilled the accession criteria. Its negotiations with the EU Commision began in 1995. On June 24, 2011, the Council of the European Union voted to accept the Commission's assessment of Croatia's readiness to become the 28th member state.www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/123085.pdf
Kosovo, as part of Serbia, is a potential candidate for EU membership. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and, currently, 22 of the 27 EU member states have recognized the independence of Kosovo, as have five of the potential candidates and candidates to the EU. On June 15, 2008 the Constitution of Kosovo entered into force.
Macedonia has been a Candidate for European Union membership since 2005. In February 2008 the Council adopted the Accession Partnership, updating the previous European Partnership of January 2006. In January 2008 the visa facilitation agreement and readmission agreement came into force. In December 2009, the EU's decision to lift visa requirements came into effect.
Montenegro submitted its application for EU membership to the Council in December 15, 2008. On April 23, 2009, the Council invited the Commission to review Montenegro's application and submit an opinion. In its 2011 opinion, the Commission recommended that Montenegro become an official Candidate country, and the European Union granted Montegengro official candidate status on December 17, 2010.
On December 19, 2009 Montenegro achieved visa liberlization with the EU and in May 2010 the Stabalization and and Association Agreement (SAA) came into effect.
Serbia is a potential candidate for European Union Membership. In 2008 Serbia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, but the agreement has not yet entered into force, pending a unanimous decision by the Council that Serbia is fully cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). In December 2009 Visa liberalization came into force and Serbia submitted its application for EU membership.