Outgoing president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has reiterated his strong support for Albania and North Macedonia to begin European Union accession talks.
“I have always thought that the EU should open accession talks with both Albania and North Macedonia, in line with the positive recommendations from the commission. I have not changed my mind,” said Mr Tusk on September 17, after meeting with North Macedonia’s prime minister Zoran Zaev in Skopje and Albania’s PM Edi Rama in Tirana.
“Albania’s and the region’s accession to the EU is in the best interest of the whole of Europe,” added Mr Tusk, whose second term as council president ends in November. “There will be no stable and safe Europe without the integration of all the Balkans in the EU. What is at stake is our common future.”
The European Commission said in May that both Albania and North Macedonia had made the necessary progress on democratic standards and the rule of law to begin accession talks. Some of the EU’s member countries however, including France and Germany, were unwilling to give the green light at a meeting of foreign ministers met in Luxembourg in June.
Both countries are now hoping to get the go ahead at the next European Council meeting, in October.