Essential criteria for future EU enlargements are the absorption capacity of the European Union itself as well as respect for and active promotion of shared values, as set out in the Lisbon Treaty. Northern Macedonia received the status of official candidate country in 2005, Montenegro in 2010, Serbia in 2012, and Albania in 2014. Bosnia and Herzegovina became an official candidate country in December 2022, after submitting the official EU accession application in February 2016. Accession negotiations with Montenegro began in December 2012, and with Serbia in January 2014. In mid-July 2022, the EU launched the opening phase of accession negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania.
Iceland, with which accession negotiations had begun in July 2010, withdrew its application for membership in March 2015.
Ukraine applied for EU membership at the end of February 2022 and Moldova in early March 2022. Both countries have had candidate status since June 2022.
Kosovo has been offered the prospect of EU membership as soon as it is ready as a "potential candidate"; it has submitted an official application for EU membership in December 2022. Stabilization and association agreements have already been signed with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Georgia, with which there is also already an association agreement, also applied for EU membership in early March 2022 and has been a "potential candidate" since June 2022.
More information can be found on the European Union's website.