EC presents draft negotiating frameworks for Albania and N. Macedonia to the Council

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

BRUSSELS – The European Commission presented to the Council draft negotiating frameworks for Albania and North Macedonia, laying out the guidelines and principles for their accession talks. The Commission was invited to submit these proposals in March 2020 by the General Affairs Council when it took the decision to open negotiations with both countries.

Once the Member States have adopted the negotiating frameworks, the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union will present the agreed General EU Position in the first inter-governmental conference with each country, marking the formal start of the accession negotiations. The negotiating frameworks will be made public at this stage.

“Today marks another important step on Albania’s and North Macedonia’s paths to the European Union. Delivering on our commitment, we outline concrete frameworks for the conduct of accession negotiations”, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi said.

He added that Commission’s proposals build on the revised enlargement methodology it put forward in February to make the accession process more credible, with a stronger political steer, more dynamic and predictable.

“I look forward to the discussions with Member States and to holding as soon as possible the first inter-governmental conferences with the two countries. Their future lies clearly in the European Union and I am confident they will continue to deliver on the reforms on their EU path, as they have done so far”, Várhelyi said.

According to the Commission, draft frameworks are divided into three parts: principles governing the accession negotiations, substance of the negotiations, and negotiations procedure.

The objective of the negotiations is that Albania and North Macedonia adopt the EU acquis in its entirety and ensure its full implementation and enforcement upon accession.

The draft negotiating frameworks build on the experience of past enlargements and the on‑going accession negotiations. They integrate the revised enlargement methodology, take into account the evolving EU acquis, and duly reflect the countries’ own merits and specific situations.