Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok reiterated his country’s position that North Macedonia is more prepared than Albania for the start of EU accession negotiations.
Ahead of the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg focusing on the launch of accession negotiations with Skopje and Tirana, Blok said the Netherlands believes each country should be judged by its own merit.
“Both countries have made lots of efforts. with regards to North Macedonia, we believe there is one important step to be taken and that is the law on the prosecutor’s office. If that condition is fulfilled, we believe that accession negotiations should start. With regards to Albania, we believe there is more work to be done and it is not yet ready to start accession negotiations,” FM Blok told reporters.
Asked if the law on the prosecutor’s office is a condition for the start of the negotiations, Blok did not give a clear answer, saying the law should be implemented, because the rule of law is key criterion for EU accession.
On the issue whether the region would be given a bad signal if the accession negotiations are not launched and does that mean that the EU is altering membership criteria, he said there is no change.
“The signal is that once the country fulfills the known criteria, accession talks can start. There is nothing new in that. This is just and fair,” said the Dutch FM.