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European Western Balkans
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Roth calls for the opening of EU accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia

Michael Roth; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BRUSSELS – Ahead of the European Union General Affairs Council, German Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth, called the failure to approve the negotiating framework for launching EU accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania a “serious political mistake”, Euronews Albania reports.

“As the current EU Presidency, we are doing everything in our power to reach an agreement as soon as possible in order to ensure that the first Intergovernmental conference be held once the remaining conditions for Albania are met. Anything else would be a serious political mistake to the stability and security of the Western Balkans, which would also damage the security of Europe as a whole,” Minister Roth said.

Yesterday, the Foreign ministers of the European Union failed to agree on the start of membership negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. They also did not adopt the expected conclusions on enlargement to the countries of the Western Balkans, N1 reports.

It is added that European ministers only touched lightly on the draft conclusions on the Western Balkans, and the issue of opening negotiations with Albania was also left aside, bearing in mind that several EU members have major objections to the rule of law in Albania.

However, on Tuesday, more than 20 MEP’s signed a joint statement supporting the launch of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia where they urged the Council to stop delaying accession talks with both countries and find a solution to ensure that the negotiations begin before the end of the year.

Warning that the current hold-up in accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania is jeopardizing the European Union’s credibility in the Western Balkans, they call on Bulgaria and North Macedonia to find a compromise on pending bilateral issues to avoid delaying the accession process any further.

Picula: The blockade of the negotiations sends a bad message to the countries in the process of EU enlargement

The EP rapporteur for Montenegro Tonino Picula stated that the blockades send a bad message to the countries in the enlargement process, discourage them and open space for even greater influence of non-European factors, which do not have the same values ​​as the EU, FoNet reports.

He adds that he believes that the current situation is not sustainable in the long run.

“The European Union does not have a formal lever to unblock the veto because it requires a unanimous decision of the member states. This example also entitles all those who advocate that part of foreign policy decisions be made by a qualified majority,” Picula said, adding that he believes that the behavior of one member state, which uses the enlargement issue as a nationalist pre-campaign for its spring parliamentary elections is neither correct, good-neighborly or in the European spirit.

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