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EU ministers approve decision to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia

24. March 2020 - 17:00

During a discussion on enlargement between European Union ministers that was held by video today, ministers and authorised representatives of member states approved the decision to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia. Estonia was represented at this landmark meeting by Märt Volmer, Undersecretary for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Today we sent out an important political signal – that the doors to the European Union remain open to those prepared to make an effort and convey its shared values,” Volmer said.  “Every country that has met the required criteria can move ahead in the process of joining the European Union,” Volmer said. He emphasised that today’s decision was a boost not only to North Macedonia and Albania, but also to the Western Balkans in general and to the European Union itself.

The decision to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia is not the end of this process, but rather the beginning. Volmer reaffirmed that the European Union would continue to support the implementation of the reforms needed in Albania and North Macedonia in order for both countries to be ready to join the EU in the future. “In this way we are showing candidate countries that the European Union can be trusted and that we are also reducing their vulnerability to the influence activities of third countries, which is particularly important in the complex global situation we currently find ourselves in,” he said.

The undersecretary added that the European Union was capable of making important decisions even at a time of crisis.
Proposals to further increase the efficiency of the EU accession process were also approved at the meeting.

Final approval to today’s decisions will be given by the heads of state and government of the European Union during a video meeting on Thursday, which will be chaired by President of the European Council Charles Michel.

Additional information:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Communication Department

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