April 16, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Negotiations have begun on the entry of North Macedonia and Albania into the European Union

Two long-term candidate countries have moved on to the next stage – Albania and North Macedonia “will become familiar with the rights and obligations of members EU“.

As the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen notes, both states “showed an unwavering commitment to the values” of the EU. At a press conference attended by the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Albania and North Macedonia, she said:

“Albania and North Macedonia are starting EU accession negotiations today and I am very happy to be here with you. This is a historic moment that is the result of the hard work of Albania, North Macedonia and their citizens. You have shown an unwavering commitment to our values.”

The European Commission and representatives of the two countries, writes RBC, will proceed to the next stage of the process: Albania and North Macedonia “will become familiar with the rights and obligations of EU members.” The procedure for countries to join the European Union consists of several basic steps. First they submit an application, then they receive the status of a candidate, after that they proceed to negotiations. Further – ratification and integration.

North Macedonia received the status of an EU candidate country in 2005, Albania – in 2014. In June, the European Union granted candidate status Ukraine and Moldova. Georgia also submitted an application, but its consideration was postponed until the necessary reforms were carried out in the country.

Earlier, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, at a press conference during a meeting of leaders of the EU countries and the states of the Western Balkans, said that the EU enlargement procedure is “cheating” process: 26 countries failed to overcome Bulgaria’s veto to start accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. He said:

“The 26 EU countries showed complete impotence, they were unable to overcome Bulgaria’s veto. EU enlargement is a completely fraudulent process. As soon as something happens in the candidate countries, everything goes into a new circle again. I feel sadness and disappointment in the European Union. There is something very wrong with this house.”

Rama cited the example of North Macedonia, which even had to change the name of the country in order to join the EU: “Imagine if France had to change its name?”

Other EU countries are calling for preparations for expansion. For example, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that with the granting of candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, EU enlargement is only a matter of time, Reuters quotes:

“We need to create the conditions that Ukraine needs to continue on its promising path forward, and at the same time, we need to understand that we must be ready to expand.”

He also said that for the efficiency of the union, decisions must be made by a majority vote, and not unanimously, RBC reports the words of the politician.

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