BRUSSELS, Dec. 8 (EUROPA PRESS) –
A score of MEPs on Tuesday called on the EU to unblock the accession process of North Macedonia and Albania, in order to start the entry talks before the end of the year.
After the green light in March to start negotiations with the EU, the concrete step to start the dialogue, the intergovernmental conference, is blocked by the refusal of Bulgaria, which alleges historical and cultural differences with Macedonia and calls for a bilateral agreement prior to the conversations. This veto is delaying the timetable set by the German Council Presidency and leaves the European aspirations of both candidates up in the air.
MEPs warn that the current ‘impasse’ in the negotiations is putting the credibility of the EU in the Balkans at risk and they ask Bulgaria and Macedonia to reach a compromise solution to avoid further delay in the accession process.
In particular they urge Bulgaria to unblock the European path of its neighbors. “It must approve the opening of the intergovernmental conference as soon as possible and, in any case, in December,” the MEPs have indicated in their joint statement in which they ask to value Macedonia’s efforts to align itself with the EU. They also demand that Skopje make “any possible effort” to resolve the differences with Sofia.
The adoption before the end of the year of the negotiating frameworks and the convening of the intergovernmental conferences for North Macedonia and Albania, which give the starting signal to the entry negotiations, were two goals that Berlin set in September. However, the attitude of Bulgaria, an unexpected actor that claims bilateral differences with Macedonia on historical and cultural issues to exercise its veto capacity, has complicated the process.
Lack of progress with Skopje hurts Tirana in this case. After both Balkan states have gone hand in hand in the community process, reluctance over Albania’s democratic and judicial reforms weighs even more with the veto over North Macedonia, a candidate that the Twenty-seven consider more aligned with the principles of The EU.
On the situation in Albania, MEPs insist that it also deserves to advance on the European path and vindicate its progress in terms of political and judicial reforms. The 23 MEPs who have signed the letter are mostly from Eastern European countries and represent different sensitivities from the parliamentary arch. They belong to the popular, liberal, socialist and green family.