EU agrees to accession talks with Albania, North Macedonia | European Union News

The event comes after North Macedonia resolved a protracted dispute with its EU neighbour Bulgaria.

The European Union has agreed to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia after Skopje resolved a protracted dispute with its EU neighbour Bulgaria.

The 27 member states have “simply agreed to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia”, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, whose nation holds the EU’s rotating presidency, stated on Twitter on Tuesday.

“We now have taken one other vital step in direction of bringing the Western Balkans nearer to the EU,” he stated after the inexperienced gentle in a gathering of EU envoys in Brussels.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and his North Macedonian counterpart Dimitar Kovacevski had been anticipated in Brussels to formally begin the accession talks.

Rama on Tuesday shared a tweet by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who had visited Bulgaria final month in an effort to beat Sofia’s blockade earlier than the summit in Brussels.

“I welcome the vote of the Macedonian parliament paving the way in which for the primary accession conferences of the European Union with North Macedonia and Albania,” Scholz stated. “We wish you as members of the European Union and will probably be at your facet all the way in which!”

Language dispute

The announcement comes after North Macedonia and Bulgaria on Sunday signed a French proposal that will make Macedonian an official language within the EU, in addition to present different ensures.

Bulgaria had till lately blocked any progress for accession talks due to a dispute between the nations over a protracted checklist of linguistic and historic points.

The dispute additionally stalled Albania’s bid to grow to be a member of the 27-nation bloc, because of a long-held coverage that the ambitions of each nations to affix the EU be handled collectively.

Beneath stress from France, which held the EU presidency till July 1, the Bulgarian parliament final month agreed to raise its veto in alternate for EU ensures that North Macedonia will meet sure calls for on contentious points.

North Macedonia was designated as a candidate for EU membership almost 20 years in the past and had already labored by means of massive variations with Greece to be able to be a part of NATO in March 2020.

Albania was awarded candidate standing by the EU in 2014.

In an interview with Politico final month, Rama had been pessimistic in regards to the chance that Macedonia would acquiesce to accession talks.

“I don’t have any expectation. I feel nothing will occur,” he stated.

An extended course of

The launch of the method, which is anticipated to take years, is a part of a broader enlargement coverage that alerts the elevated strategic significance of the Western Balkans to the EU following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On February 28, 2022, shortly after it was invaded by Russia, Ukraine utilized for EU membership.

In a landmark June 23 resolution, the European Parliament adopted a decision calling for the instant granting of candidate standing to Kyiv.

The EU additionally gave candidate standing to Moldova, one other former Soviet republic that borders Ukraine.

The choice to award the “European perspective” quite than formal candidate standing to Georgia was hailed as a major accomplishment by the federal government, whereas critics seen it as a well mannered means of turning down Tbilisi’s bid for candidacy.