Message from Berlin: The road to the EU remains open

The ruling German coalition CDU/CSU said that the road to the EU remains open for North Macedonia and Albania, despite the EU Council’s decision not to open accession negotiations with the two countries.
Deputy Chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, Johann David Wadephul, and the reporter in charge Christian Schmidt urged Skopje and Tirana to continue with reforms and convince anyone who might have doubts that their place is in the EU.
“I call on both countries to grasp the negative vote of the European Council as an incentive to continue all reform efforts. If both countries stay the course, Paris will not be able to stop the accession negotiations for a second time. Germany supports and stands for a European perspective of the Western Balkans,” Wadephul said.
Schmidt, on his part, says that the negative decision of the European Council must be revised promptly.
“North Macedonia and Albania’s road to the EU should not be blocked. We remain convinced that there’s a place in the EU for all Western Balkan countries if they meet the criteria. Eventually, this includes the start of the accession negotiations. The accomplishment of the countries needs to be acknowledged – changing the name and a comprehensive judiciary reform, while the countries themselves need to continue implementing reforms and eliminating deficits. If the EU doesn’t take care of the Western Balkans, other powers will make it their sphere of influence. Nobody really wants that,” Schmidt says in a statement on CDU/CSU’s website.
It’s in the interest of Germany and the EU that accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania start very soon, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said.
Altmaier, who is to visit the Balkans in the coming days, told German newspaper Bild that he was disappointed with the outcome of the EU Summit in Brussels.
“It is in our interest to start accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, acknowledging their great efforts for democracy and stability. Accession negotiations with the two countries should start very soon,” Altmaier said.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that the postponing the decision to open negotiations for North Macedonia’s and Albania’s accession to the European Union, it is much more than a lost opportunity: it is a historic mistake.
In her blog ‘Two important decisions, one historic mistake’, Mogherini said that the heads of State and government have postponed the decision to open negotiations for Albania’s and North Macedonia’s accession to the European Union, in spite of the extraordinary progress achieved by both countries and against the European Commission’s advice.
Mogherini wrote: “it is much more than a lost opportunity: it is a historic mistake, which I hope can be amended as soon as possible.”
“The Council has also taken two important decisions: it approved the new agreement with London on the UK’s exit from the European Union; and it confirmed the decisions we had adopted on Monday with the Foreign Ministers on Turkey’s military intervention in Syria,” Mogherini wrote.