Western Balkans: EU takes accession talks with Albania and Macedonia

From 2019, the EU will negotiate results openly with the two Balkan countries. Neither Macedonia nor Albania fulfil the conditions for membership.

Western Balkans: EU takes accession talks with Albania and Macedonia

The EU countries have basically agreed to opening of accession negotiations with Balkan countries Albania and Macedonia. At ir meeting in Luxembourg, European ministers agreed "a way forward for opening of accession negotiations" in June 2019, Bulgarian presidency of EU said on Twitter. France and Nerlands initially resisted a decision on subject.

"It was a very heavy birth!" twittered The European Minister of State Michael Roth (SPD), who represented Germany at meeting. Diplomats spoke of a "sometimes difficult discussion". In end, however, French and NiederländischenVorbehalte could also have been eliminated. This is an "important, positive signal for entire region of Western Balkans".

Roth had already announced before meeting of European ministers in Luxembourg to vote for opening of accession talks. Although "substantial progress" is still needed in rule of law, democracy and fight against corruption and organised crime, Albania and Macedonia have made remarkable progress, Roth said. Macedonia has also settled with Greece years of controversy over its state name. For EU, "stability, peace and democracy in Western Balkans played a crucial role".

Roth had also appealed to Nerlands and France to "not stand in way of a necessary consensus". A compromise proposal was refore presented with a level model which should take into account, above all, reservations against Albania. According to a principle decision, it would be examined wher certain conditions were met before start of concrete discussions on first negotiating areas.

Accession negotiations will take years

The EU Commission had proposed opening of accession talks in April. They are led openly and take over many years. Candidates can only become members if y have met all EU standards.

The EU is also seeking to counteract growing influence of Russia and China in region with a new start to enlargement in Western Balkans. The six countries of Western Balkans have so far only had accession negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro. The Commission has so far seen it as a favourite for accession by year 2025.

The example of Turkey is currently showing that accession talks can also come to a complete halt in event of a step backstage. Negotiations with candidate country started already in 2005, but are currently not being continued because of developments in country.

Date Of Update: 27 June 2018, 12:01

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