"I do think that the two countries, those we are mentioning, will be members of the European Union before 2025," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said at a press conference in Brussels.
Serbia and Montenegro are official candidates for joining the European Union since 2012 and 2010, respectively, while Albania, Macedonia, and Turkey are other candidates to join the bloc. The accession talks with Montenegro began in 2012, and with Serbia in 2014.
Commenting on ties with Turkey, Juncker urged Ankara to return to European values in order to maintain its chances of joining the European Union.
"Some of the Turkish authorities are trying to blame the European Union for having broken the accession promise. We are not doing that, but we want Turkey to re-become European," Juncker said at a press conference.
According to Juncker, he personally would like Ankara and Brussels "to have the best relations possible, but Turkey for the time being is stepping away from the European Union."
In his turn, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to wave "goodbye" to the European Union unless the process of Turkey's accession to the bloc moved forward.
According to the requirements for EU membership, those countries wanting to join the European Union must undergo a two-step process. Firstly, the country must prove their ability to comply with all the standards and rules of the Union. Secondly, said country must receive the consent of all the EU institutions and member states, as well as of their citizens, either through their national parliament or by referendum.
Serbia's EU Membership Bid
Previously, Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, has stated that Serbia would become member of the EU depending on he time that relevant reforms will be taken in the country.
Serbia and the European Union have opened 10 of 35 chapters in EU accession talks so far, including chapters on financial control, judiciary and fundamental rights and so-called other items chapter which stipulated the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has repeatedly stated that he expected the negotiations on the country's admission to the European Union to be finalized in 2019.
Montenegro: New Kid in the Bloc?
In 2008, Montenegro submitted an application for EU membership. In 2009, the country’s citizens were granted visa-free access to the European Union's borderless Schengen zone, and in 2010 a Stabilization and Association Agreement between Monetnegro and the bloc, required for EU membership, finally entered into force.
The country is currently conducting talks on the EU accession with Brussels.