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  • Monday, 18 November 2019
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    DW: Negotiations/ EU Foreign Ministers to reach decision today on Albania and North Macedonia

    In an article published on Tuesday, DW analyses the current situation in regard to the EU integration process of countries like Albania and North Macedonia, which are patiently waiting for a decision of the EU foreign ministers (which will be taken on Tuesday (15.10) in Luxembourg), whether to open EU accession talks, and odds are the discussion will be brief.

    France has warned that it will veto the opening of accession talks, arguing that the reforms carried out by Albania and North Macedonia are insufficient, reports German media ‘Handelsblatt’.  French president Emmanuel Macron seeks deeper reformation of the integration process as condition for his approval.

    The article continues with Josef Janning, head of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations dedicated to European foreign policy, who said he understands France’s concern.

    “The French have always been concerned that the European Union would damage further with the addition of new members, and in the end only the market would remain. And that were to happen, then he would also not be able to last a day….Looking back, you can say, that this fear is not unreasonable, ” stated Janning for German radio ‘Deutschland Funk’.

    Nevertheless, the expert sees no other way for the EU, other than to open accession talks. “One should also look at the other side of the coin, if there is no goal, a credible membership prospect, then it becomes difficult for political actors there, or rather becomes very difficult to stay on course to bring their countries closer to the EU”. According to Janning, the beginning is easy, but then the work becomes serious and it is at this stage that strong political will is needed to remain loyal to the reforms. The prospect of membership helps a lot, Janning claimed.

      German expert, Josef Janning 

    Alongside France, the Netherlands is also reluctant to say yes to opening of accession talks with North Macedonia. This country sees more problems with Albania, claimed Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, at a recent meeting with Chancellor Merkel in Berlin. Denmark, too, is skeptical.

    Germany on the other hand, supports the opening of talks, always in compliance with conditions set up by the Bundestag, which must be met by the first accession conference, here including more long-term conditions.

    At the Luxembourg meeting on Tuesday, Germany is represented by Foreign Minister for Europe at the Foreign Ministry, Michael Roth, who is a staunch supporter of the opening of talks. In a previous interview for Deutsche Welle, Roth stressed that there is a need for unanimity at the European Council.

                                      Michael Roth, German Foreign Minister for Europe

    “Both countries have made tremendous progress,” he said. From our point of view, conditions have been met to start accession talks. But, of course, there is still much to be done in terms of the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and more. The issue of reconciliation in the region is still a test, not only for North Macedonia and Albania, but also for the rest of the Western Balkans”, he said. Original Link here. Tiranapost.al



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