Marietje Schaake MEP (ALDE/D66) comments on the progress reports for candidate member states of the European Union, which will be presented by the Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Füle, this afternoon. "European enlargement remains an absolute priority. It is the most effective tool for creating a sustainable European area of freedom, security and justice. Only by strictly adhering to the Copenhagen Criteria we can ensure that the citizens in candidate-countries benefit from the accession process and that the process has support at home. This is more than just a bureaucratic hurdle." "In the accession process, slow and steady wins the race. The mistakes in the Bulgarian and Romanian accession process still haunt us today. Lessons have been learned. We need to supervise new EU member states strictly and make sure they abide by the rules of the game. We can't just forget about expectations we have created, closing the door now to countries that have shown progress would severely damage our credibility." "D66 still supports the accession of Turkey to the EU. However, at this point in time that is no easy message. The increased repression of freedom of expression, the huge number of jailed journalists and the violent reaction to peaceful protests this summer are reason to worry. I believe that our criticism will carry more weight with a potential EU membership in sight. The protests this summer show that millions of Turks support the values that the EU can be proud of, we must not desert them." Today Commissioner Füle presented the annual progress reports for EU candidate countries. The reports can be found here. On Friday 13 September, Marietje Schaake delivered the 5th annual BKB-lecture in Amsterdam: "Polarisation, and how the EU lost the progressives in Turkey". The lecture can be read here.