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EU Foreign Ministers Postpone Accession Decision Until Monday

EU Foreign Ministers Postpone Accession Decision Until Monday

The ambassadors of the member states to the European Union have postponed until Monday the discussion on the approval of the draft-conclusions for holding the first intergovernmental conference with Albania and North Macedonia.

Sources from Brussels told Exit News that the ambassadors’ meeting on Wednesday afternoon was closed without the necessary unanimity.

The Commission of Permanent Representatives, composed of the ambassadors of each member state, is expected to agree on Monday on a series of conclusions regarding EU enlargement.

In principle, the ambassadors praised Albania’s work on reforms but said that before the first intergovernmental conference, the country should show greater progress in fulfilling the conditions set by EU leaders in March 2020.

As for North Macedonia, they said that the first intergovernmental conference with North Macedonia could be held once the dispute with Bulgaria is resolved.

Bulgaria has blocked the start of accession talks for North Macedonia. On November 17th, it refused to approve the framework of EU negotiations with North Macedonia at a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said Bulgaria could not support the launch of negotiations due to disagreements with Skopje over history and language. Bulgaria claims that the Macedonian language is a dialect of Bulgarian and that the Macedonian national identity has been eroded since World War II.

She requests that this information be written in the document for the start of negotiations.Italy tried to soften the text of the conclusions for Albania, but this was rejected.

The conclusions reached today by the ambassadors must be approved by the Council of Foreign Ministers and on European Affairs of EU countries (GAC).

The start of negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia may be approved in March 2021.

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