The EU could continue to grow after Brexit. North Macedonia and Albania can now hope to join the confederation. There is also a need for haste from an EU perspective.
- After Brexit *, the EU still consists of 27 countries.
- While the Coronavirus * is rampant on the continent, accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania should begin.
- It could also be a political race against China and Russia .
Brussels - The EU wants to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania . The European Ministers of the 27 EU member states agreed on Tuesday in a video slot, as the German Minister of State Michael Roth confirmed on Twitter.
However, because the EU states can not make any formal decisions in such video conferences, the capitals must now agree in writing.
Good news in these gloomy times: finally green light in today's Council of Ministers for Europe Video Conf for opening of #EU accession talks with our friends from #Northmacedonia + #Albania. Win-win for EU and #WesternBalkans. Congrats to Tirana + Skopje, it's well deserved.- Michael Roth MdB (@MiRo_SPD) March 24, 2020
EU accession talks: Danes and Dutch were concerned
In October this step failed because of the resistance of French President Emmanuel Macron , but also because of the concerns of Denmark and the Netherlands . Macron initially called for a reform of the admission process for new EU members , which the EU Commission has now submitted. A month later, the EU authority Skopje and Tirana certified further progress towards the international community.
The October veto triggered a government crisis in North Macedonia . The government of Social Democrat Zoran Zaev resigned in early January and the country has been led by a transitional government since then. Zaev had ended the long-standing dispute with the neighbor Greece over the state name Macedonia and, against the opposition of the nationalists, made it possible to rename it to North Macedonia. Athens then cleared the way for its neighbors to move closer to the EU and NATO. The recent elections were postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic .
EU accession talks: Albania has to meet several conditions
Minister of State Roth praised the reform efforts of both countries on Tuesday. "North Macedonia made history by overcoming a decades-long dispute over the name," said the SPD politician. An unprecedented judicial reform has been launched in Albania.
Nevertheless, the current decision still places some conditions on Tirana . Among other things, the country must complete its electoral reform before the first accession conference. In addition, Albania should step up action against corruption and organized crime . The Bundestag, among other things, had tied such conditions to its approval.
EU accession talks are already underway with the Balkans Montenegro and Serbia . The region is also geopolitically important for the EU. China and Russia are already trying to gain influence there.
In the Corona crisis, the EU Parliament demands the evacuation of the hopelessly overcrowded refugee camp in Greece. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces a historic step due to the impact of the pandemic on the economy.
* merkur.de is part of the nationwide Ippen-Digital editors network.