The EU Decides within Days whether to Start Membership Talks with Tirana and Skopje
The foreign ministers demanded rapid integration in the Western Balkans.
Within a few days, the EU will decide whether to start membership talks with Northern Macedonia and Albania. This was made clear during a meeting between the foreign ministers of Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and representatives of the European Commission in Thessaloniki.
Joint declaration in support of European integration in the Western Balkans and expectation that Skopje and Tirana receive a specific date for the start of EU membership talks in March. Both Serbia and Northern Macedonia have expressed readiness for EU membership.
"From Thessaloniki to Zagreb" - on the eve of the Croatian summit, foreign ministers demanded swift integration of the Western Balkans on Monday.
"Reforms are a responsibility of the Western Balkan countries. Not only because they have to fulfil the same criteria and beads in some excel tables. They must have resolved all their open issues, both between them and with their neighbours, "said Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva.
Last autumn, the member states failed to agree on a start to the talks with Skopje and Tirana. At the time, France, the Netherlands and Denmark were the main obstacles, pushing for new rules in the negotiation process. The emphasis is the rule of law.
"Serbia has a choice, at least that's what the EC told us. The European Union has to say whether it wants to expand or not, "said Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.
"We build a sense of community in the region with those who are already members and who are not yet," said Northern Macedonia Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov.