The Lower House of the Dutch Parliament is set to debate on Tuesday in regard to the EU enlargement process, more specifically the opening of EU accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia. Dutch media NOS, in an article published on Tuesday, writes that both Albania and North Macedonia have achieved a lot, but have been left waiting patiently, adding that the Netherlands in particular is of the opinion that countries like Albania are not yet ready to join, a statement echoed by the Dutch foreign minister.
Previously, Germany was opposed to the start of negotiations, but the German parliament recently decided to agree to the talks. This requires Albania and North Macedonia to meet a number of conditions, such as improving the functioning of the courts and tackling organized crime. According to Bert van Slooten, a correspondent in Brussels, these are the same conditions the Netherlands set. However, he does not know if the debate today will lead to the same conclusion. “It is certainly a big step for the Netherlands to suddenly agree on accession talks.”
However, according to NOS, corruption and organized crime remain a problem in Albania and North Macedonia. Proponents of opening negotiations – countries such as Italy, Austria and many Eastern European countries believe they can better guide Albania and North Macedonia if they are members of the European Union. In addition, supporters also fear the sphere of Russian influence, Van Slooten explains.
“Russia is investing a lot of money in these countries. EU member states fear that Russians will gain more influence and destabilize things”. To limit Russian influence, supporters want to drag Albania and North Macedonia into the European Union.
Following today’s debate, foreign minister, Stef Bloc, will present the Dutch stance at the EU summit in Luxembourg this weekend. Only then will an official decision be made on Albania and North Macedonia’s accession talks. / This article is taken from Dutch media NOS. Original link here. Tiranapost.al