Representatives of European Union countries failed to reach a consensus on Tuesday on the framework of talks with Albania and North Macedonia, which would pave the way for the first Intergovernmental Conference between the two countries and the EU, which marks and the official start of membership talks.
At the end of the meeting of ministers for European Affairs, the representative of the German presidency, Minister of State, Michael Roth, reminded that since the spring of this year the two Balkan countries "have been given the green light" for membership talks "but now we want to create concrete conditions for this to become possible. We would like this to happen during our presidency ", which concludes at the end of December.
As for Albania, the Netherlands is the country that has raised serious doubts about the fulfillment of the conditions, a major obstacle to the process. The German minister, who, at least publicly, did not talk about any reservations of any member country towards Albania, and even said that according to him Albania has met the conditions.
"We have to distinguish between the bilateral conflicts, the points of friction that still exist between Bulgaria and North Macedonia on the one hand, and the EU as a whole, on the other. It is clear that we want to help find reasonable solutions, that we want to eliminate all obstacles so that intergovernmental conferences can take place, why not throughout our presidency. "This is not the time for bilateral issues still unresolved to arise at the European level."
For the German minister, the credibility of the EU itself is at stake. "We have to give signals of EU credibility, and give this signal to the Western Balkans. Albania and North Macedonia have made countless efforts to become part of the European family. "It is a very long and difficult journey, but now we have to start concrete talks."
On the same line was EC Vice President Sefkovic: "We believe that this would be a strong signal to the whole region, that the enlargement process works and produces results."
Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Harvelyi, present at the meeting, wrote on Twitter that "Work must continue and it is important to reach an agreement on negotiating frameworks with Albania and North Macedonia, as soon as possible, in order to so that Intergovernmental Conferences can be held this year ”. /rti.rtsh.al