Susanne Schutz, Director for the Western Balkans at the German Foreign Office said that Germany is aiming to hold the first intergovernmental conference with North Macedonia and maybe Albania, if conditions are met, during the next six months. Germany took over the six-month presidency of the European Union in July and wants to see “renewed momentum” in relations between the EU and the Western Balkans.
“We want to maintain this positive dynamic. This means first and foremost continuing to lay the groundwork for accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia by finalising the negotiating frameworks. We aim to hold the first intergovernmental conference with North Macedonia and, if conditions are met, also with Albania during our Council Presidency,”
She added that there is a plan to hold a conference with the region regarding the topic of emigration
.“The reasons for leaving are not only economic: They concern also persisting deficits in the rule-of-law area, non-meritocratic appointments, and corruption. Since most people from the region emigrate to EU countries, we think it is important to look for concepts that can mitigate the negative effects and make use of ‘win-win’ aspects for both the Western Balkans and the EU”, Schutz told BIRN.
When asked about Albania where she had previously served as a diplomat, she said that the media law is still a concern.
“The new media bill in Albania does not yet reflect the best international standards and practices.’ She said it requires improvements so it could be considered as an encouraging step on Albania’s path to the U.