EU Accession Talks Begin For Albania And North Macedonia
EU accession negotiations with the Western Balkan countries of North Macedonia and Albania have officially begun. The historic moment for both countries and the EU as a whole came at the beginning of the Czech EU Presidency. Photo: Prime Minister Fiala and EC President von der Leyen with Prime Ministers of Albania E. Rama and North Macedonia D. Kovacevski on 19 July. Credit: Vlada.cz
Czech Republic, July 23 (BD) – The launch of the talks was announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and the Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia, Edi Rama and Dimitrij Kovacevski, after a meeting in Brussels on 19 July.
“Both countries have been seeking this step for a long time. As we all know, the main obstacle in recent times has been the relations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia. This has been unblocked. I am glad that the Czech Presidency is building on the work of the French Presidency and I am also glad that I had the opportunity to attend today’s ceremony,” said Fiala.
Achieving a result acceptable to all was not easy. The two countries have been linked in time and procedure in the EU integration process in recent years. To start the negotiations, a solution had to be found to Bulgaria’s demands regarding the obligations of the bilateral friendship treaty with North Macedonia. The framework for the agreement was negotiated by France during its Presidency. Under the Czech Presidency, the agreement was confirmed in the North Macedonian Parliament, and all the necessary procedural steps were completed.
“It is in our interest that the countries of the Western Balkans integrate into the EU as quickly as possible. It is in the interest of the whole of Europe, and taking into account what is happening around us and the security situation, we want the Balkans as a whole to be stable and to be part of a common Europe,” Fiala added.
The Western Balkans region has long been one of the priority areas of Czech foreign policy. Enlargement policy is a key strategic aim of the EU to maintain peace, stability, democracy and prosperity in Europe.
“There is still a long way to go towards full membership of the European Union, which will certainly take several more years. But there is a strong interest from all to make the process as short as possible, and both Albania and Northern Macedonia have expressed a strong will to fulfil all the conditions to become EU members as soon as possible. We are trying to make everything go as quickly as possible,” said Fiala.