Politics, Europe

EU faces disagreements on enlargement policy

Not all member states prepared to make decision on opening negotiations with North Macedonia, says head of European Council

Zehra Nur Düz   | 12.06.2019
EU faces disagreements on enlargement policy



European Council President Donald Tusk on Monday said not all member states are prepared to make a decision on opening negotiations with North Macedonia in the coming days.

“If I am a bit cautious, it is because I know that, sometimes, reaching consensus among 28 member states takes more time than I would like,” Donald Tusk said.

Tusk held a news conference on Monday after his meeting with President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski. The opening of accession talks was at the center of their discussions today.

“Over the last two years, North Macedonia has delivered all the right political signals that the EU was expecting from the candidates,” Tusk said.

“You have done everything that was expected of you,” he added.

Tusk underlined that there can only be one decision which is to launch the negotiations in line with the European Commission's recommendations, both with North Macedonia and Albania.

“There is no doubt that the place of your country and the whole region is in the EU,” he added.

Barriers to NATO and EU membership lifted

Pendarovski, for his part, said that they have improved their relations with their neighbors and have implemented key reforms.

He also expressed satisfaction with the EU Commission's recommendation to open accession talks with North Macedonia.

Stressing that North Macedonia contributed to the stability in the Western Balkans by solving decades of problems, Pendarovski said the obstacles to NATO and EU membership have been lifted.

An EU commissioner on Wednesday proposed to launch membership negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

The current EU Commission, whose mandate is due by the end of October, focused on the reports of the Western Balkan countries as part of the 2019 Enlargement Package.

Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner for European neighborhood and enlargement policy, said Albania's regional and judicial reforms have undergone a major transformation while North Macedonia has signed a historic agreement on resolving the name issue with its neighbor, Greece.

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