“Today’s political agreement to open accession negotiations with Albania and the Republic of Macedonia is a recognition of the significant reform efforts made by these two countries. Both have demonstrated clear political determination to move forward on their European path. The road to accession is long. But when real and sustained progress is made in fulfilling the accession criteria, this brings Western Balkan partners closer to the EU. I am truly satisfied that a new stage has opened in the process of the accession of Albania and North Macedonia to the EU during the Croatian presidency, which has the European perspective of the Western Balkans at heart” said Andreja Metelko-Zgombić, Croatian State Secretary for European Affairs.
Ministers exchanged views on enlargement and the stabilisation and association process, focusing on Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia.
They gave their political agreement to the opening of accession negotiations with both countries.
On this basis, a written procedure has been launched for the formal adoption of Council conclusions. It is expected to end on Wednesday 25 March in the morning.
The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell welcomed the decision by the government of North Macedonia to activate the EU civil protection mechanism during telephone conversation with Nikola Dimitrov, Foreign Minister of North Macedonia. The diplomat have discussed the current intensive efforts to coordinate work and seek all ways to channel support to the Western Balkans in a focused and concrete manner.
The high diplomat concluded that the European Union stands by the Western Balkans and will continue to support the region in these challenging times.
They both expressed great satisfaction over the EU Ministers’ decision to open accession negotiations for both North Macedonia and Albania.
Image: illustration video conference Josep Borrell
At aprrival to the Euorpean Council for the EU-Western Balkans informal meeting the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said he hoped that some of Western Balkans countries could become members of the EU before the end of his mandate.
“Today is another step on the European perspective for the Balkan countries. We are going to talk about it also tomorrow at the Foreign Affairs Council.
“I am coming from Munich where I had the opportunity of meeting all the Heads of State or Government of the Balkan countries. I have been flying in the plane with the Foreign Minister of North Macedonia and I learnt that they have [taken] a new important step on the reforms, about the law of the public prosecutor, which shows their will of doing anything they have to do in order to have a European perspective. So we are going to work today and tomorrow for the next European Council to open the door to the European perspective of the Balkan countries.”