EU delays accession talks with N. Macedonia and Albania

epa07506173 People wave flags of North Macedonia, Albania and the EU during the central electoral rally of the ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia party (SDSM) for the Presidential election in front of the EU information center in Skopje, North Macedonia, 14 April 2019. The coalition between the ruling SDSM and DUI will run in the upcoming Presidential election with Professor Stevo Pendarovski who is a candidate for the President of the Republic of North Macedonia for the second time. The first round of the election is scheduled for 21 April 2019. EPA-EFE/GEORGI LICOVSKI

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EU ministers have decided to delay opening accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.

The European Commission last month recommended that accession talks should begin with the Balkan countries after they had carried out reforms.

However, EU ministers for European affairs gathered in Luxembourg  were unable to overcome differences between member states to launch the accession talks. Unanimous agreement by all 28-member states is needed.

“In light of the limited time available and the importance of the matter, the Council will revert to the issue with a view to reaching a clear and substantive decision as soon as possible and no later than October 2019,” the European Council said.

Europe ministers met in Luxembourg almost a year to the day since they unexpectedly postponed a decision to start the talks with the two countries and cast doubt on the EU’s Balkan strategy to counter a growing Russian and Chinese presence.

Despite a recommendation by the EU’s executive Commission for North Macedonia and Albania to start talks, Germany’s parliament has pushed back any decision until September and the Dutch lower house has rejected negotiations with Albania.

France has also shown reluctance, calling for the EU to sort out its own internal problems before admitting new members.


Via France 24

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