Greece: EU to open talks with North Macedonia and Albania

Greece: EU to open talks with North Macedonia and Albania

Greece: EU to open talks with North Macedonia and Albania Izvor: AFP/Tobias Schwarz

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said that the European Union should open accession negotiations with both North Macedonia and Albania at the 28-29 June summit, Brussels-based website Euractiv reported on Monday.

In an interview with the website, Kotzias called Macedonia by its new name which was agreed with Greece on June 12, after the 27-year-long dispute. The country was earlier known as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Kotzias said that earlier more countries were opposing the negotiation with North Macedonia and Albania.

“In the beginning, it was Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. There were some contradictions in German politics as well,” the minister said.

He added that “the French are not happy with the way the debate about the future of Europe is going. And the Dutch have expressed disagreements, but I think it will be easier for them to overcome that.”

Last week, the Dutch parliament blocked the opening of the EU accession talks with Albania, saying Tirana had done little in curbing corruption.

However, Kotzias said that “the point is to bring France together with Germany to avoid destabilising the Balkans.”

“By accepting monitoring and screening process North Macedonia and Albania can solve their problems more efficiently,” Greek minister added.

Macedonian Prime Minister told reporters last Friday that he hoped Skopje would get an opening date soon, adding he expected French President Emmanuel Macron’s "heart would soften." 

The EU summit should decide whether to open negotiations with Macedonia and Albania, but since the decision has to be unanimous, it is difficult to see how Albania could get a green light this month.

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