Balkans

EU fails to launch membership talks with Balkans hopefuls

European Union leaders failed Friday to agree on launching membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in an embarrassing climb-down that could risk inflaming the volatile Balkans region.

The two countries had expected to receive a green light to begin negotiations on joining the European club, a process which could take several years.

France Sinks EU Hopes of North Macedonia, Albania

EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Friday failed to persuade France to allow a hoped-for start to accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania - and also failed to agree on a written conclusion, which, in the absence of a date for EU talks, would have sent a positive message to Skopje and Tirana about their further engagement in the process.

EU leaders to discuss North Macedonia, Albania accession after reaching deadlock

Talks in Brussels continued on Friday on the European Union accession prospects of North Macedonia and Albania after tense talks ended in a deadlock the previous night on objections from France, The Netherlands and Denmark, who strenuously oppos the position of the other 25 member-states to commence negotiations with the two Balkan nations.

PM Borissov: It Would Be a Historic Mistake if North Macedonia and Albania Aren't Allowed to Enter EU Accession Negotiations

It is very important for the Balkans, the region and our relations with North Macedonia and Albania that these countries are given EU Membership perspective. It would be a historic mistake if they were not allowed to enter EU accession negotiations today. This was what Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said before the start of today's meeting of the European Council in Brussels.

EU Leaders Will Discuss Brexit, the Situation in Syria and Enlargement

European Union leaders meet today and tomorrow for their regular autumn summit. The agenda today includes topics such as Brexit, the Turkish operation in northern Syria and the start of accession negotiations with northern Macedonia and Albania.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov will also attend the meeting.

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