The European Union will sit in accession talks with North Macedonia within this year, but the first intergovernmental conference with Albania’s will depend on its fulfilment of conditions set by the European Council, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas.
“We opened the door to accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia. We plan to have the first Intergovernmental Conference with North Macedonia before the termination of the German EU presidency. And, if the conditions are met, with Albania, too”, Maas said on Wednesday, Euronews reported.
He made the statement during a conference titled “Young People, Migration and the Demographic Challenge in the Western Balkans”.
Maas said that based on past experience, people from the region have wanted to migrate to EU countries before their countries joined the EU but not after.
“In 2001, before Romania joined the EU, 75 percent of young Romanians wanted to leave their country. Today, two thirds want to stay in Romania. We hope to see the same development in the Western Balkans,” he said.