EU must remain credible in its enlargement policy

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) is in favor of starting accession negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia.

BRUSSELS. At the 14th of November 2019, enlargement was at the center of the debate of the CoR Commission on Citizenship, Governance, Institutional Affairs and External Relations (FK CIVEX). Salzburg’s former Governor Franz Schausberger, a member of the Committee of the Regions of Salzburg, emphasized in his contribution to the debate that there is currently great disappointment in the enlargement countries because the Council did not follow the recommendation of the European Commission – to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. The EU must be credible vis-à-vis these countries and, after all, it is not about the question of accession, but only the opening of accession negotiations, which experience has shown take several years. Therefore, the Committee of the Regions must also make a clear statement for the opening of accession negotiations for North Macedonia and Albania..

Schausberger was pleased to see that, in his spirit, the following decision was taken: “The Committee of the Regions is deeply disappointed by the decision of the European Council of October 2019 to postpone the start of EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, although both countries join continuous commitment to the European path. The CoR warns that the lack of a positive signal to the two candidate countries could have negative consequences at local and regional level and therefore recommends that the Council address this issue before the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb in May 2020.”

The position and decision of the CoR CIVEX commission on the accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia was also fully endorsed and supported by Commissioner for Enlargement, Johannes Hahn, in a meeting with Schausberger.