Russia’s permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov has stated that Albania and North Macedonia would be welcome to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), after the EU refused to open accession talks with the two Balkan countries.
“I am sure that the countries, which are candidates for EU membership and have recently been “put on ice” by Brussels, could find more understanding in the Eurasian Economic Union”, IBNA quoted Chizhov saying during an EEU forum in Verona, Italy last Friday.
Chizhov’s statement follows the EU leaders’ failure to reach an agreement on opening accession talks with Albania and north Macedonia. It also comes days after Serbia, which is a step ahead of both countries in its EU path, signed a free trade agreement with the EEU.
Leaders of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia have also agreed in principle on a free trade zone between them. With the Serbia-EEU free trade agreement signed, it’s not clear if Russian and other EEU country’s goods and influence could find an easier way into the Balkans through Serbia, if this trilateral agreement comes to fruition.
Following their failure to start accession talks, leaders of Albania and North Macedonia have nevertheless underlined their commitment to strengthen efforts for reforms in the EU path.