The Netherlands is blocking the opening of negotiations with Albania on joining the European Union. A majority of the House of Representatives gave a clear opinion to the upcoming meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels on June, 25.
The decision did not come as a surprise, because Dutch lawmakers have already expressed serious concerns with organised crime and corruption in Balkan country.
“We have serious concerns about the fight against corruption and organized crime,” said Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok. “More progress needs to be made on these points first.” However Blok does not close the door for Albania to join the EU in the future.
The parliamentary factions of VVD, CDA, CU, PVV, SP and 50Plus are “forbidding” the government to agree on negotiations with Albania on accession, The Telegraaf newspaper reports.
Three of the four government parties, including liberal-conservative VVD, the party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, as well three opposition parties, have indicated that the progress of the Albanian government has not been sufficient to discuss the opening of negotiations. Subsequently Rutte has no mandate to accept the talks opening during upcoming European Council the end of this month, as it was previously planned by the EU officials.
The situation with Northern Macedonia (Severna Makedonia) is complex due to the name change, but there is no similar block imposed to restrict Rutte movements.
However there is a word in Brussels, that contrary to the EU officials plans, Austrian government will block the accession talks with N.Macedonia.
Albania occupies 91 place among 180 countries in corruption index of Transparency International.