After 20 years of postponing: Albania and North Macedonia finally start the negotiations with EU

Two more of the WB6 countries will start the negotiation process for full-right membership to the European Union. EU foreign ministers adopted the conclusions finalized at the ambassadorial level, approving the start of negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. With this, four of six WB6 countries are in the process of negotiations for EU membership which leaves only Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo excluded from the process, but probably not for a long time.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi tweeted: “I am pleased that EU member states today reached a political agreement to open negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia. I congratulate both countries, “According to his opinion this is a loud and clear message to the Western Balkans.

German State Minister for Europe Michael Roth, also congratulated the two countries on this big success.

“Good news in these gloomy times: finally the green light to open negotiations with our friends from Northern Macedonia and Albania. Win-win for the Western Balkans. Congratulations on Tirana and Skopje, well deserved.”

Both countries have great economic expectations from this process, and all the hopes for a larger economic growth are connected with European Union as being their main trade partner. North Macedonia has been waiting for this date more than 20 years. The process was prolonged because of issues concerning the name of the country and historical differences with Greece.

Once the decision has been adopted, a written procedure for its formal approval by all Member States is opened, which enters into force. This process can last until March 26 or 27, at the latest, when the European Council of EU leaders’ summit is held, which will also give its political consent. The summit will also be held via a video conference due to the corona-virus outbreak.