Despite the blockade, especially France's President of the European Parliament David-Maria Sassoli has spoken out in favor of quickly starting accession talks with countries from the Western Balkans. The prospect of joining North Macedonia and Albania is very close to his heart, the Italian told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Tuesday). "I very much regret that the Council was unable to give an OK to the talks in October because of the veto by some countries and I hope that we can correct this decision soon."
Above all, the French head of state Emmanuel Macron and the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte prevented the start of accession talks with the two countries, which were advocated by other EU countries, including Germany, at the EU summit on October 17 and 18. The government in Paris demands a fundamental reform of the accession process as a prerequisite for approval to start negotiations.
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North Macedonia, in particular, has invested a great deal politically in preparatory work to open accession negotiations. Against massive opposition from the nationalist opposition, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev had changed the country's name from Macedonia to North Macedonia. The EU member Greece had asked for the ultimate because a province in the north of the country is also called Macedonia. The refusal from Brussels triggered a domestic political crisis in North Macedonia. A new election was therefore scheduled for April 12.