From: Exit News
Western Balkans Must Join EU Simultaneously, Says Italian Prime Minister

The EU integration process foresees that all Western Balkan countries join the Union simultaneously, said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Wednesday.

At a press conference with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Draghi voiced Italy’s support for Albania’s integration into the EU.

Draghi’s statement, which came after a meeting with Rama in Rome, essentially confirms that Albania’s path to the EU will remain tied to North Macedonia’s.

Meanwhile, in his statement, Rama echoed the words of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, saying that all will depend on the outcome of the Bulgarian elections.

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.

In October, Bulgarian President said Bulgaria would lift the veto if certain conditions were met.

However, the possibility of a new Bulgarian government, following its third parliamentary election this year, raises hopes for North Macedonia, and consequently Albania.

Kiril Petkov, a centrist politician who is likely to head the new Bulgarian government, told EURACTIV Bulgaria that he wanted a more pragmatic and dialogue-driven approach to North Macedonia.