Bundestag gives green light to negotiations, but not without conditions

German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports that North Macedonia will receive a “full green light” for the start of accession negotiations, while the Bundestag will give a “dark green” light to Albania. According to the newspaper, the decision of the Bundestag of North Macedonia will grant the start of negotiations without additional conditions, while Albania will have to meet a series of requirements.
In its decision on the country, the Bundestag urges the German Federal Government in the course of negotiations to ensure that the continuation of reforms is guaranteed and that the country will have to continue making “significant additional efforts” to meet the membership criteria, especially in the areas of rule of law, including respect for the fundamental rights and effectiveness of the Special Prosecutor’s Office with a new organizational set-up, then in the fight against corruption, organized and financial crime and money laundering, as well as strengthening institutions and promoting human rights.
The Bundestag is demanding that both the European Commission and the European External Action Service regularly report on the progress of reforms during accession negotiations. According to German lawmakers, EU accession negotiations should start with chapters 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights and 24 – Judiciary, Freedom and Security, setting out action plans for these chapters with clearly defined deadlines and goals, implementation of which will be a prerequisite for opening new chapters.
– The Commission must, in addition to its annual reports, regularly report on the implementation of its progress action plans. Opening and closing relevant chapters must depend on progress in these areas, the document said, stressing that the Bundestag retains its general right to build its own position if it finds that the conditions for opening new negotiating chapters are not met.
The Bundestag demands that the focus of membership negotiations be on the topics of functioning democratic institutions, public administration reform, economic development and competitiveness, good neighborly relations and regional cooperation, freedom of the press and the media, rights of the most vulnerable groups and members of minorities and active civil society.
German lawmakers say the country will need to fully meet the political and economic criteria for membership before adapting its laws to European law and adhering to European stability provisions and the Maastricht Treaty criteria, meaning the country cannot get a date for joining before the end of negotiations.
The Bundestag urges the German government to keep it informed of the progress of accession negotiations. Progress on the road to membership should not only be evaluated by the European Commission, but also regularly by the (German) Federal Government, including its diplomatic missions, reads the document.