“The enlargement policy must continue to promote European values, stability and prosperity beyond current EU borders. I wish both Albania and North Macedonia a continued and speedy advancement on the path of the reforms, bringing their economies closer to European standards, for the benefit of their citizens and of the whole region”, says Michael Gahler MEP, EPP Group Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, ahead of today's decision of the EU Member States to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.
He reiterates that the EPP Group has always supported a merit-based enlargement process, which mirrors the progress made by each candidate country. “Countries who work harder and achieve EU standards quicker should see their efforts rewarded. In case the progress turns out to be insufficient, negotiations should be halted or their final goal jointly redefined”, he insists.
Andrey Kovatchev, MEP and EPP Group Vice-Chair underlines that both countries have fulfilled all required criteria for starting negotiation talks, but the decision to move forward was blocked due to the scepticism of some EU Member States.
“By opening the accession talks, the European Union fulfils its commitment. Solidarity is fundamental, not only for our physical survival, but also to ensure the continuation of the European idea of unity”, says Kovatchev. “I would like to be able to congratulate, later today, both Albania and North Macedonia on their first step towards full European integration. Of course, future progress in the accession talks fully depends on the reforms taken-up by Skopje and Tirana, and their willingness to overcome obstacles in their reform process”, he concludes.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States