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EU to consider date for starting talks no later than October

EU member countries will reach a clear decision on opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania no later than Oct. 2019, according to the General Affairs Council.

Luxembourg, 18 June 2019 (MIA) – EU member countries will reach a clear decision on opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania no later than Oct. 2019, according to the General Affairs Council.

In the conclusions on the Enlargement and Stabilisation and Association Process adopted by the Council on Tuesday, North Macedonia is commended on its good neighborly relations agreements.

Their addition is the only difference between the Council’s conclusion for North Macedonia and that for Albania.

“Reaffirming its conclusions of 26 June 2018, the Council strongly welcomes the historic and unprecedented Prespa Agreement, as well as the Treaty on Good Neighbourly Relations with Bulgaria, and takes good note of the Commission’s recommendation to open accession negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia based on its positive evaluation of the progress made and of the fulfillment of the conditions identified by the Council,” the press release from the meeting reads.

However, the EU member countries still haven’t decided on a date to start talks, and said they’d reconsider the issue later this year:

“In light of the limited time available and the importance of the matter, the Council will revert to the issue with a view to reaching a clear and substantive decision as soon as possible and no later than October 2019,” the document adds.

Eastern European countries were the ones supporting the start of negotiations with both countries without delay, but France, Germany, and other Western European countries resisted, diplomatic sources told MIA.

This conclusion is the best possible outcome, sources add, considering the disagreements between EU member countries on enlargement policy. mr/17:52

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