Screening is a formal and technical operation performed by the European Commission intended for preparation of the membership negotiations and represents an analytical presentation of the situation in the candidate country relating to the Acquis Chapters. As a process, it is aimed at, on the one hand – acquainting the candidate countries with the Acquis, thus preparing them for negotiations. On the other hand, it is aimed at enabling the Commission and the Member States to evaluate the degree of preparedness of the candidate countries, being informed on their further plans and gaining preliminary indications on the issues to be most actual in the negotiations.
The duration of the Screening is approximately one year and it is carried out on the basis of timescale defined by the Commission (Directorate - General for Enlargement in consultation with the competent Directorates). The Screening is implemented by Chapters, except for Chapters 34 “Institutions” and 35 “Other Issues” subject to negotiations in the last phase of the accession process. First explanatory meetings are held in which the Commission representatives present Acquis in details and then bilateral meetings with each country are held. The Commission afterwards drafts Screening Report and presents it to the Council. After scanning the given Chapter, the Council decides on the negotiation commencement, upon recommendation by the Commission.
The screening report includes four parts:
- explanation of the Acquis in the Chapter
- screening results – information given by the candidate country and Commission assessment
- conclusions and recommendations by the Commission.
- and in the final part the Commission recommends to the Council whether negotiations on the Chapter will be opened, and if otherwise – which benchmarks are to be set up.