Failure to give Albania a green light for negotiations should not discourage either Tirana or Brussels. This was hinted at in an interview with MCN by European Commission spokeswoman Ana Pisonero. She says both Albania and northern Macedonia deserve to start negotiations, but avoids questioning whether the time has come for the two countries to split in the integration process.
“The Council failed to reach an agreement on a negotiating framework for Albania and Northern Macedonia, which would allow the opening of negotiations for both countries. It is clear that from the commission’s point of view both countries have met the conditions and it is time to move forward. A lot of work has been done and the Commission has worked with the Portuguese presidency to achieve this goal and I think we are entering the final phase. “This process must be closed quickly and we must move forward with Albania and Northern Macedonia as soon as possible,” she said.
Regarding Albania, Pisonero stressed that despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Albania has continued to show commitment and has achieved sustainable and tangible results in the key areas identified by the Council. Albania’s progress in electoral reform and the rule of law, including the implementation of justice reform, but also when it comes to the fight against corruption and organized crime, has received the Commission’s assessment that Albania meets the conditions for holding the first intergovernmental conference.
Pisonero reiterated that enlargement policies are a merit-based process. “Both countries have achieved results and we think we can move the process forward as soon as possible. This is also a matter of trust for the EU. “We hope to hold intergovernmental conferences with both countries as soon as possible, as both have met the conditions to take such a step,” she said./ ibna