Dutch Parliament Blocks Opening of Accession Negotiations with Albania

Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf reports that the Dutch Parliament will refuse to grant permission to the government to vote in favor of opening negotiations later this month during the European Council meeting.

Three of the four government parties, including liberal-conservative VVD, the party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, as well three opposition parties, have indicated that the progress of the Albanian government has not been sufficient to discuss the opening of negotiations.

In an interview with Exit, Christian-Democrat MPs Pieter Omtzigt and Martijn van Helvert confirmed that a motion is expected to be approved by Parliament today that will deny the government of Prime Minister Rutte a mandate to open negotiations with Albania under any circumstance. Omtzigt stated that a number of recommendations will be formulated to be fulfilled by the Albanian government.

Omtzigt was member of the parliamentary fact-finding mission that visited Albania in May, and which was later ridiculed by Prime Minister Edi Rama.

As regards North Macedonia, Omtzigt stated that the situation regarding the possible opening of accession negotiations is more complex, due to the pending referendum about the official name change, which was recently ratified by the North Macedonian Parliament. Dutch Parliament is therefore expected to give the government more leeway in negotiations with the country.

With the decision of the Dutch Parliament, it seems increasingly unlikely that the European Council will vote for the opening of accession negotiations during their meeting on June 28–29.