From: Exit News
Albania’s EU Accession Tied to Outcome of Bulgarian Elections, Says Dutch PM

The Bulgarian presidential elections of November 14 will be decisive for Albania’s and North Macedonia’s path towards the EU, said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Rutte spoke to media on Wednesday afternoon, following his meeting in Tirana with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

“In order [for Albania] to hold its First Intergovernmental Conference, it is essential that the issues between Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia be resolved. I hope this happens. You have done a lot. To be fair, [Albania] has made the right amount of progress,” Rutte said.

In June this year, the General Affairs Council of the EU failed to reach an agreement on starting EU accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia. Bulgaria’s veto on North Macedonia made a unanimous decision of the 27 ministers of foreign affairs impossible, which also penalized Albania.

Rama thanked Rutte for his mediation with Bulgaria and expressed his hopes that the issue would be resolved by the time the European Council meets in December.

During a visit to Tirana in September, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen also had said that the EU is working to remove all barriers so that Albania can participate in its first intergovernmental conference by the end of the year.

On its end, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev had set three conditions that North Macedonia must meet before Bulgaria is ready to lift its veto.

Radev seems set to win the November 14 elections, however the situation in North Macedonia is less certain.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced his resignation after his party suffered a crushing defeat in the October local elections. On Thursday, his government will face a vote of no confidence in Parliament, initiated by VMRO-DPMNE, the main opposition party.

The request came shortly after VMRO-DPMNE announced that it has concluded a new parliamentary alliance with Levica, the Alliance for Albanians, and BESA that will give it a majority in parliament.