Just a few days after Portugal took over the presidency of the European Union, its priorities have been clarified.
In an interview, the chief negotiator of Albania, Zef Mazi, expressed optimism that despite the fact that enlargement is not mentioned in the priorities set by Portuguese Presidency, the EU strategy has not changed and will not change. However, Mazi says that it is up to the highest bodies of the European Union to clarify the situation.
Mr. Mazi, today we learned about the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union. There we find no reference to enlargement. How do you see this?
Putting together in one frame all the points of the messages in the last months of 2020, this omission of EU enlargement among the priorities of the Portuguese presidency did not come as a surprise. Analyzing the text of the priorities, as far as can be deduced today, the Portuguese presidency attaches more significance to the neighbors in Africa and Latin America than the enlargement of the EU. I have not heard so far that the EU enlargement strategy has changed! I do not believe it has changed! The Portuguese presidency can say more about that.
EU enlargement has been part of the priorities of previous presidencies, hasn't it?
As far as I remember, it is probably the first EU presidency in the last three years, if I am not mistaken, where no single word is found to refer to the EU enlargement package, namely the strategic political decision of the EU for enlargement.
The disagreement of the Czech Republic and Slovakia on the enlargement package in December 2020, following the joint statement of the two prime ministers of these two countries, has had its impact on this concise list of priorities of the Portuguese presidency.
In what framework do you see this fact of non-reference to enlargement?
Annyone can be hidden behind this prioritization list. I do not believe this is an intelligent attitude. If so, this uncertainty cannot be sustained for long.The EU, the Council, the European Commission and the member states will have to state clearly whether or not the EU enlargement strategy that was formally decided by the Council many years ago at the summit has changed!
I am optimistic, despite the different interpretations, that the strategy has not changed and will not change. For now, we may see an attempt or an unfavorable position, to push some things in time, but not to suspend them. We are only on the fourth day of a long, difficult year, where two Council presidencies operate. Time, the progress of work will speak more clearly.