Balkan leaders brand the summit with the EU as “historical in the negative” after the lack of progress in accession

Balkan leaders brand the summit with the EU as "historical in the negative" after the lack of progress in accession

The EU expresses its willingness to streamline the enlargement process to have more agile negotiations


The leaders of Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia have branded this Thursday the summit with the European Union as “historical in the negative” after ending without concrete progress in joining the European bloc, due to Bulgaria’s veto to the opening of negotiations with Skopje and Tirana.

The press conference of the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, the Macedonian Prime Minister, Dimitar Kovacevski, and the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, has become a rosary of reproaches to the European bloc for not unblocking the “kidnapping” of Sofia at the European path of Albania and Macedonia, citing cultural and historical differences with Skopje.

“It is important to tell the truth, it is not just Bulgaria. It is unfortunate but it is not only Bulgaria. The problem is the flawed Enlargement process and Bulgaria is the clearest expression”, criticized Rama, who emphasized that Albania has been with candidate status and Macedonia for 17 years, but without starting formal accession negotiations.

The Albanian leader has charged the inks against the Member States for not being able to “free two hostages” and that is why “in that sense the summit was historic but in a negative sense.”

In addition, he has extended his criticism to the Enlargement policy itself, after saying that he feels “sorry” for the Member States for not being able to resolve Bulgaria’s veto and that a single country commits the whole of the Union. “They had the best words and they all said they feel bad that they can’t deliver concrete results,” she said.

In any case, Rama has promised to continue working on the European reforms that the country needs, but has warned the EU not to “let the Albanians’ faith in Europe fall.” “Do not do as the Church debated on the sex of the angels while Constantinople fell”, he has settled.

For his part, Kovacevski, the main victim of Sofia’s position, has expressed his “dissatisfaction” with the progress of the accession process and has asked for consideration for Macedonia on its European path. Thus, he has asked for respect for her identity, language and culture and that bilateral issues do not condition the framework of negotiations with the EU.

“None of these issues was questioned by the 27 member states on their way to the EU. That is what we want, nothing more and nothing less,” he said, lamenting that what happened at the summit is a “significant blow” to credibility for European integration.

The Macedonian Prime Minister has flatly rejected the French proposal for Bulgaria to lift the veto in exchange for Skopje reforming its Constitution to include a mention of the Bulgarian community in the country. “Right now it is unacceptable for me, for the Government, for the president, for the citizens of North Macedonia,” he pointed out emphatically and stressed that the country is prepared, however, to open negotiations with the EU as soon as it clears up This question.

For his part, Aleksandar Vucic has criticized the lack of concrete results in the meeting with European leaders and has shrugged off the criticism that, according to what he has said, the countries of the bloc have leveled against Serbia for not applying European sanctions for the Russian invasion from Ukraine.

“Macedonia and Albania did not obtain a date for the opening of negotiations, Bosnia did not achieve candidate status, Pristina did not have visa exemption. We have been criticized by member states for the Russian and Ukrainian issue, that is what has happened in practical terms,” ​​argued the Serbian leader.

In separate statements, the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, expressed satisfaction with the fact that “it has been the time that more positive declarations” regarding Kosovo and the visa exemption have been produced so far within the EU.

“Even countries that were hesitant in the past, many of them have shown concrete support today and have called for progress to be made in this direction,” he stressed in statements to the press at the end of the meeting. “But now we have to move from words to deeds, we need concrete actions, apart from declarations of support, and we need a decision now on visa exemptions,” he stressed.


Given the discontent shown by the Balkan leaders, European sources lower the tension and say that the demands of the countries are clear but it served to “ensure that there is a European family” and that the EU is going to try to “energize” the accession process and have more agile negotiations.

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has shown on social networks his strong support for “revitalizing” the integration process and advancing access for the Balkan partners. “Work continues to quickly find an acceptable solution to the North Macedonia issue,” said the former Belgian prime minister, who has canceled the press conference that he had planned after the meeting with the Balkans.

European sources have stressed that, despite the lack of progress, during the meeting it has become clear that the accession negotiations of Albania and Macedonia are a “total priority” and highlight the urgency of resolving the disputes between Sofia and Skopje.


During the summit, the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Kiril Petkov, whose government is hanging by a thread after losing a motion of censure, explained that the parliamentary vote to lift Macedonia’s accession veto will soon take place on Monday, others have indicated sources, once the leader of the opposition and former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has guaranteed his support for the Government to unblock the situation.

Speaking to the press, Petkov has indicated that he hopes to resolve the situation “as soon as possible” and that the blockade will not be extended any longer, at the expense of the parliamentary vote in Bulgaria scheduled for the next few days.

Meanwhile, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, considered that “nothing was ever easy” in this region and that countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina or Kosovo still have to make progress in their processes. Regarding the Bulgarian blockade, he considered that there is a “50-60%” chance that the situation will be resolved “next week”.


On the proposal of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to launch a European political community that includes EU countries and other European states in political and security cooperation, the Albanian leader has been open to this option while progress is made in parallel in joining the EU.

In his opinion, it could be a way for all European countries to “live together” in a common house. “It doesn’t matter if some of us are on different floors, but we can be together in the living room,” Rama explained, while Vucic also assessed that this forum may be the “only way” for the Balkan partners to be heard by the Europeans.

For his part, Kovacevski considers Macron’s initiative “important”, but has stressed that he has to define its operation and its objectives, to emphasize that “it cannot replace membership of the EU”.

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Written by Editor TLN

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