European Western Balkans

MEPs underline that Albania and North Macedonia are ready for EU talks

European Parliament in Brussels; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

ALBANIA/NORTH MACEDONIA – Following their visit to Albania and North Macedonia, Foreign Affairs MEPs underline that both countries have demonstrated their commitment to EU-related reforms.

2019 is a key year for Albania and North Macedonia’s European path, as in June EU member states shall take a decision on the countries’ readiness to open the accession negotiations.

Foreign affairs MEPs met with civil society representatives and the political leadership and opposition in both countries from 27 February to 1 March.

Following last week’s visit, the Foreign Affairs Committee delegation, led by Tunne Kelam (EPP, EE), underlines that Albania and North Macedonia have delivered substantial reforms under hard circumstances, and that it is crucial that EU capitals, given the record of accomplishment, acknowledge the continuing progress and decide to open the EU accession negotiations this year.

At the same time, the EP delegation calls on both countries not to waste time and keep the focus on the ongoing judicial, economic, rule of law and public administration reforms. Adherence to the democratic political process will be of great importance along the further path towards a possible EU membership, MEPs say.

“Albania and North Macedonia have both done their homework for starting the EU accession talks, but the lack of consensus on EU integration risks undermining their EU aspirations. Although the countries have demonstrated their determination about EU-related reforms, the lack of national unity and internal political squabbling could derail the process”, say delegation Chair Mr Kelam.

MEPs, nevertheless, reiterate their clear support in favour of opening accession talks in 2019. “We look forward to a unanimous decision by EU member states in the Council”, say Mr Kelam.

Commenting on the next round of the Jean Monnet Dialogue (JMD) dedicated to amending the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of North Macedonia (Sobranie), Mr Kelam said: ”We are pleased that Hristijan Mickoski, leader of VMRO-DPMNE, has confirmed his party’s commitment to the JMD process with the European Parliament and Macedonian Sobranie as a key initiative in support of implementing EU-related reforms and preparing for the expected opening of accession negotiations in June.”

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