L. Linkevičius: Europe must remain open to countries that strategically aspire to join European Union
On 11 June, Foreign Ministers of thirteen European Union member states issued a joint statement on the EU commitment to the Western Balkans’ European integration. The document emphasizes the importance of the EU's enlargement policy, backs the enlargement process and the launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.
Ahead of the General Affairs Council in June, the Foreign Ministers of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, Hungary, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Poland, and the Slovak Republic appeal to all EU stake-holders to maintain and consolidate the positive momentum by opening the accession negotiations with the Republic of Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia. In addition, the Foreign Ministers recall the General Affairs Council conclusions of June 2018 that set out the path towards opening accession negotiations in June 2019.
“The start of the negotiations process will enable these two countries to focus even more on necessary reforms, while the EU will obtain a valuable tool for scrutinizing their individual progress. Starting the negotiations in June 2019 will also contribute to strengthening countries’ resilience to external, detrimental interests of other players, and ensure that the EU continues to be the leading player for a positive regional transformation” said the Foreign Ministers in their statement.
The General Affairs Council will discuss the enlargement package and make the decision on the next steps in the accession process of Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia on 18 June 2019.