Commission releases updates on N. Macedonia and Albania, recommends opening of talks

Oliver Varhelyi presents the enlargement methodology proposal; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS –  Both North Macedonia and Albania have delivered further tangible and sustainable results and therefore the Commission’s recommendation to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia remains valid, reads today’s press release of the European Commission.

The Commission presented updates on the progress made by Albania and North Macedonia in further addressing rule of law related reforms, in particular in the areas set by the Council in June 2018.

Upon the presentation of the reports Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi stated that the updates show that the countries stepped up their work and delivered further tangible and sustainable results in the key areas identified in the Council Conclusions of June 2018.

“The Commission stands firmly by its recommendations to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia and I hope that the Member States will take a positive decision in the coming weeks”, Várhelyi said.

According to the press release, in today’s updates, the Commission factually and objectively describes the progress of both countries from June 2018 to today in the areas highlighted by the Council.

In the case of Albania, the update outlines progress in the implementation of justice reform and the vetting process of judges and prosecutors, on the track record demonstrated in the fight against corruption and organised crime, including when it comes to cannabis cultivation and hard drugs trafficking. It also points to other relevant issues, such as agreement on the way forward to electoral reform and efforts to tackle unfounded asylum claims.

In the case of North Macedonia, the update covers significant steps taken to strengthen independence of judiciary, including the recent adoption of the revised law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office. It shows an improved track record in the fight against corruption and organised crime as well as progress in the reform of intelligence services and public administration.