accession agreementsin the law of the European Union agreements concluded between the Union and states that are not member states, usually, in their terms, ‘with a view to membership’. They are not legally different from other agreements; it is the definition of their scope that gives them their significance. Some accession agreements have been moribund for a time but have later been resurrected, such as the case of the agreement with Greece when democracy was considered as suspended in that state. Sometimes described as ‘an antechamber to membership’, they are a useful way of dealing with the Union's legal mechanism for accession. Currently there are four countries that have applied to accede to the European Union: Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Turkey. Formal admission is dependent on the applicant states meeting the COPENHAGEN CRITERIA, agreed in June 1993. See also ACQUIS COMMUNAUTAIRE.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006