Brussels will start accession talks with Albania, Macedonia by summer: EU’s Hahn
Brussels will recommend starting accession talks with Albania and the Republic of Macedonia, widening the European Union’s push into the Western Balkans, according to Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
“The EU Commission will soon recommend, most likely by the summer, that member states begin accession negotiations with Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” Hahn said in an interview with Germany’s Die Welt newspaper published Thursday.
“We believe that both countries have made important reforms in the past, and are thus qualified for this step.”
Hahn has praised Albania, an EU candidate since 2014, stating that the country “has done a lot in the fight against organized crime.”
While the Republic of Macedonia has been a candidate since 2005 and has recently made a push to solve a name dispute with neighboring Greece that dates back to the independence of the former region of Yugoslavia in 1991.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that a solution “has never been as close as it is now.”
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said this month that she hoped the decision on starting entry talks could be taken at an EU summit in June.
The two countries will join Montenegro and Serbia, which started accession talks in 2012 and 2014, respectively, and could become members of the EU as early as 2025.
Bosnia Herzegovina has applied but hasn’t been recognized as a candidate yet.