From: Exit Staff
EU Commissioner for Enlargement to Visit Albania and N. Macedonia Next Week

European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Olivér Várhelyi will visit Tirana on January 16th. He will have meetings with President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama, Parliament Speaker Gramoz Ruci, opposition representatives and a visit to areas hit by the November earthquake.

The European commissioner will visit North Macedonia the day before.

In his meetings in both countries, Várhelyi is expected to discuss the countries’ way ahead in the EU accession, after the process stalled in October, when European leaders refused to open talks with Albania and North Macedonia. They will reconsider the issue in March 2020.

France has demanded the EU to reform accession procedures, while the Netherlands has sought concrete results in the fight against organized crime and corruption for Albania. In addition, in November the German Bundestag presented more conditions for Albania before EU accession talks could begin.

Prime Minister Edi Rama has blamed the EU for failing to open talks with Albania. He has repeatedly and firmly stressed that his government has met all necessary conditions, but accession talks did not start due to EU’s internal problems and skepticism.

Shortly after the refusal by the European leaders, Rama and leaders of Serbia and North Macedonia launched a controversial initiative to create a “mini Schengen” area for the free movement of people and goods in the Western Balkans.