The heads of states and prime ministers of the EU approved an initiative to begin accession talks for Albania and North Macedonia, removing the last obstacle for the process after three failures to agree on the issue, N1 reported late on Thursday.
The exact date for the start of the talks has still to be set.
In a joint statement regarding the enlargement, there is a single sentence saying: “We approve the decision of the (EU foreign ministers) Council from March 25 about the enlargement and stabilisation in the accession process.”
According to the EU regulations, the European Commission (EC) should “as soon as possible” organise an international conference to formalise the decision, but only after it prepared the negotiation framework for those two countries.
Earlier, Albania was asked to additionally reform the judicial and electoral systems, anti-corruption fight, but also the issue of illegal asylum seekers in the EU member states. North Macedonia did not receive additional demands.
Following the start of the accession negotiation, Tirana and Skopje will face years-long reforms in adjusting the internal regulations to the EU ones.
The first to greet the EU heads of states and prime ministers’ decision was the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He tweeted that Washington remained their partner at every step of the way.