German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that EU talks with North Macedonia could start in December, but it’s unlikely that the same applies to Albania.
During a virtual meeting with members of parliament from EU member states and candidate countries, Merkel stated that she hopes Bulgaria and North Macedonia will find a way out of the dispute, so that the first intergovernmental conference can take place in December.
“In the case of Albania, the issue is a little different. Despite the progress, I can’t promise it will happen this year, but very soon,” she said, Deutsche Welle reports.
Merkel’s statement suggests the willingness of the German presidency of the Council of the EU to treat the accession bids of the two Balkan countries separately. They have so far been treated together since the EU leaders decided to open accession talks.
It comes after the ambassadors of the EU member states also agreed in their draft conclusions on Monday to delay the first intergovernmental conference with both countries. The conclusions are expected to be adopted by the General Affairs Council on December 8, which still leaves room for North Macedonia and Bulgaria to negotiate.
The ambassadors praised Albania’s work on reforms, but stressed that it should meet the EU conditions set in March 2020 before it sits in talks.