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

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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, mentioned on Twitter on Tuesday.

“We’ve got taken one other necessary step in direction of bringing the Western Balkans nearer to the EU,” he mentioned after the inexperienced gentle in a gathering of EU envoys in Brussels.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and his North Macedonian counterpart Dimitar Kovacevski have 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 best way for the primary accession conferences of the European Union with North Macedonia and Albania,” Scholz mentioned. “We would like you as members of the European Union and might be at your facet all the best way!”

Language dispute

The announcement comes after North Macedonia and Bulgaria on Sunday signed a French proposal that may 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 hitch the EU be handled collectively.

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

North Macedonia was designated as a candidate for EU membership practically 20 years in the past and had already labored by means of large variations with Greece in an effort to be 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 probability that Macedonia would acquiesce to accession talks.

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

A protracted course of

The launch of the method, which is predicted to take years, is a part of a broader enlargement coverage that indicators 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 choice, the European Parliament adopted a decision calling for the rapid granting of candidate status 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” reasonably than formal candidate standing to Georgia was hailed as a major accomplishment by the federal government, whereas critics considered it as a well mannered method of turning down Tbilisi’s bid for candidacy.



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