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The Negotiation Procedure

Acquis Screening

The first phase of the accession process concerns the detailed examination of the extent to which the laws, regulations and institutions of the candidate state comply with the acquis communautaire. This procedure is called «acquis screening».

Cyprus successfully completed the screening procedure after 37 meetings. These meeting covered the whole range of chapters under negotiation. The screening procedure began in April 1998 and was completed in June 1999.

The screening procedure was undertaken by the European Commission both in meetings with all six of the leading candidate countries together (multilateral meetings) and meetings with each country (bilateral).

During the multilateral meetings, the Commission presented and explained to the representatives of the six candidate countries the acquis communautaire.

In the bilateral meetings between the Commission and each country the process was taken further with each country extensively reporting on the degree of harmonization with the acquis of its national legislation, its institutions and its policies. In addition, each country put forward its proposed time schedule for complete harmonization with the acquis. In these bilateral meetings each candidate country put forward its intentions with respect to the negotiation of special arrangements under the chapters where it is anticipated that either harmonization is not possible by the expected date of accession, or there will be serious problems for the country.

Most candidate countries, including Cyprus has chosen for programming purposes 1 January 2003 as the assumed date of accession to the Union. This date is, however, only indicative for planning purposes and scheduling of harmonization. The actual date of accession will depend on the progress achieved by each candidate state and the solution of the problems faced by the Union.

The screening process, therefore, involved the detailed examination of the conformity of the laws, institutions and policies of each country.

In order to allow for the acquis communautaire to be discussed in an orderly and exhaustive manner during the accession negotiations, the said acquis has been divided for the purposes of the negotiations into 31 chapters, 29 of which have been within the context of the screening process. These 29 chapters are shown in the following tables:


There are two chapters not covered by the screening process. These are as follows:

  • The «Institutions», that is the future member state’s participation in the Union’s institutions (Council, Commission, Parliament, Court of Justice, Court of Auditors as well as other lesser instituions).
  • A chapter called «Other» to deal with issues not previously foreseen or unique to the candidate country.


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