EU Postpones Opening of Accession Talks with Albania and North Macedonia

The Ministers of the Council of the EU decided to postpone until October the decision on whether to open accession negotiation with Albania and North Macedonia. The decision came after several ministers disagreed with the European Commission’s positive recommendation for both countries.

European Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania Teodor Melescanu, whose country holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, gave the news today in Luxembourg.

Following a two-day meeting of the Ministers of the Council of the EU, they agreed on a statement emphasizing the strategic importance of the Balkan’s integration in the EU, but which failed to give assurances on the opening of accession negotiations in October.

The Council’s conclusion on Albania read:

Reaffirming its conclusions of 26 June 2018, the Council takes good note of the Commission’s recommendation to open accession negotiations with Albania based on its positive evaluation of the progress made and of the fulfillment of the conditions identified by the Council. 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.

Commissioner Hahn stated that some EU member states didn’t agree with the European Commission’s  positive recommendation for Albania. Journalists reporting form Luxembourg said that the Netherlands, France and Denmark took a hard line over issues of rule of law in Albania and North Macedonia.

The German minister informed that the Bundestag will need more time to review the progress reports for these countries.