From: Exit News
Albanian and Macedonian Leaders Reconfirm Commitment to EU Integration

Leaders in Albania and North Macedonia have reconfirmed their commitment to EU integration while hailing today’s decision by ministers of EU member states to open accession talks with their countries.

Addressing the country on the occasion, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama kept a focus on the corona virus crisis in the country. “The [EU] door is finally open at a cursed time when doors of our homes are closed. Our [EU] journey continues, it’s uphill, and the work we need to do is still huge,” he said.

Acting foreign minister Gent Cakaj was more enthusiastic: “[Albania] will deliver key priorities and continue with unprecedented reforms. Our commitment to [the EU] path is just unwavering,” he wrote.

“Not a single minute should be wasted to implement as soon as possible any of the conditions preceding the intergovernmental conference for starting negotiations on chapters,” Albanian President Ilir Meta stated after expressing gratitude to the EU and member states.

“All is in our hands now to fulfill all conditions set before the actual start [of negotiations]. The sooner we fulfill our tasks, the sooner will the dreams of Albanians become true,” Albanian opposition leader Lulzim Basha stated.

“In a very difficult moment for our country, for Europe and for the whole world, today we have received beautiful and long-awaited news from Brussels: The Republic of North Macedonia is starting the negotiations for EU membership,” Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski tweeted.

“Ready to start next stage of journey! Buckle up, onwards and upwards!” Macedonia foreign minister Nikola Dimitrov tweted.

“A historic decision in these difficult times. There are no longer obstacles or conditions. The European Commission is due to make preparations, and the first intergovernmental conference will be held as soon as possible,” wrote former PM Zoran Zaev.

Albania will have to fulfill a list of conditions before sitting in the first intergovernmental conference with the EU, while North Macedonia has e clear way.

European and Western Balkans leaders and politicians have congratulated Albania and North Macedonia on this important and much awaited step in their path toward the EU integration.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that the European Council could endorse today’s decision by ministers within this week.