European Western Balkans

S&D Group asks von der Leyen to support opening of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in 2019

European Parliament Session; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – In today’s letter to the candidate for the new President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, leader of the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament Iratxe Garcia asked, among other things, for support to opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in 2019.

Voting on von der Leyen’s candidacy will take place on 16 July, and she will need the support of both Socialists and Democrats and the centrist Renew Europe to be elected as Jean-Claude Juncker’s successor.

Both S&D and Renew Europe have sent the agendas they wish von der Leyen to support in order to make a positive decision on her candidacy.

While Renew Europe’s conditions do not include enlargement policy, S&D included Albania and North Macedonia among their demands in a section on a value-based foreign policy.

“Your candidacy is the result of national leaders’ refusal to respect the Spitzenkdandidaten system, which this is not a good message to send to European voters. This puts an even bigger obligation on you and the new European Commission to show that Europe really works for people, by delivering an ambitious work programme that meets the expectations expressed by citizens at the EU elections”, wrote Garcia in her letter.

European Commission has already supported opening of accession negotiations with the two Western Balkan countries, which means that this would be a continuation of its policy. The final decision on this issue will be made by national governments.

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