EU delays decision on membership talks with Albania, North Macedonia
European Union governments failed on Tuesday to make good on a promise to open membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, which face further delays to their hopes of joining the bloc due to resistance from northern Europe.
Europe ministers met in Luxembourg almost a year to the day since they unexpectedly postponed a decision to start the talks with the two countries and cast doubt on the EU's Balkan strategy to counter a growing Russian and Chinese presence.
After much wrangling, the 28 EU states unanimously agreed to take "a clear and substantive decision" on the two hopefuls no later than October.
Despite a recommendation by the EU's executive Commission for North Macedonia and Albania to start talks, Germany's parliament has pushed back any decision until September and the Dutch lower house has rejected negotiations with Albania.