Albania ‘could start’ accession talks without North Macedonia, confirms EU Commissioner Várhelyi

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Albania and North Macedonia have until now been treated as one undivided body on the road to the European Union integration. However, the problems that Skopje has recently been facing with Sofia because of issues of a historical context, the EU could be forced to hold the first Inter-governmental Conference with Albania alone, instead of both countries. During an interview with our Euronews correspondent, the possibility for something like this happening was left open by the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Várhelyi.

Below is a short fragment of Oliver Varhelyi’s statements regarding the issue of decoupling and accession talks for Albania and North Macedonia.

EU correspondent: How are your talks on the accession talks, on the enlargement process especially with Albania, is the green light from the Commission to start the Intergovernmental Conference will happen soon or will they be still waiting?

Varhelyi: Well, it’s not the Commission who gives the green light.  The commission gives the proposal to the state council where the member states are and where the member states are taking the decision. Our assessment is that both countries, both North Macedonia and Albanai have complied with all the conditions to organize the IGC.

I do hope that we will be able to have the first intergovernmental conferences still in June, this year. If, if we run into difficulties again with north Macedonia which means that we are unsuccessful in convincing both Bulgaria and North Macedonia to come to a mutually agreeable solution, then the question will emerge, whether we can move forward with Albania only, and we will have to consider that question,

EU correspondent: So, decoupling could be possible, as an option?

Varhelyi: It might be an option yes.

The European Commission is expected to recommend holding the first IGC during the June summit of European Union leaders. EU member states will then choose if they will be able to agree on approving this next step for Albania and/or North Macedonia.

Skopje seems to be stuck in the middle of a congested political situation with Sofia, in terms of matters pertaining to a historical context.

Starting from January 1st 2021, the presidency of the EU Council is led by Portugal. In July, the leadership of the Council will pass on to Slovenia.

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