European Western Balkans

Germany urges France and Netherlands to support opening negotiations

Michael Roth; Photo: Tanjug

LUXEMBOURG – “We are ready to send green light. I would like to encourage our friends in the Netherlands and in France to join us,” said Germany’s EU Minister Michael Roth after arriving to meeting with counterparts in Luxembourg on Tuesday, reports Reuters.

His statement follows the failure of the EU ambassadors to draw up an agreement for ministerial meeting that would include opening of negotiations with Albania and Macedonia. France and Netherlands do not share the opinion of other member states that the EU is ready for further enlargement.

According to Reuters, France’s President Emmanuel Macron has said the bloc must first reform itself before taking on new members, although EU diplomats say Paris is mainly concerned about stoking anti-immigrant sentiment at home.

Although Dutch Parliament has approved opening of negotiations with Macedonia, the country’s government is unwilling to move before France does.

Paris and the Hague have especially criticized the lack of judicial reforms, endemic corruption and organized crime in Albania.

Apart from Germany, many other EU-members believe that a signal should be sent to the two Western Balkans countries that the path to membership is still open. The final decision will apparently be reached at the meeting of the European Council on Thursday.

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