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Brussels urges start to accession talks for Albania, Nth Macedonia

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Brussels urges start to accession talks for Albania, Nth Macedonia

Oliver Varhelyi - Photo EC

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission recommended the opening of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia Monday, as it presented the countries' latest progress update on reforms related to the rule of law.

According to the reports, both countries have delivered further tangible and sustainable results and therefore the Commission's recommendation to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia remains valid.

The reports show that "the countries stepped up their work and delivered further tangible and sustainable results in the key areas identified in the Council Conclusions of June 2018," said Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi. He added that he hoped the EU Member States would be making a "positive decision in the coming weeks".

The Western Balkans are seen as a priority for the Commission, which set out its proposal on 5 February to make the EU accession process "more credible, more dynamic, more predictable and give it a stronger political steer". The Commission stands by its recommendations to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, as it says both continue to deliver on reforms.

In preparation ofr an EU-Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb on 6 and 7 May, the Commission also promises to come forward with an economic development and investment plan for the region.

In the latest updates, the Commission describes the progress of both countries from June 2018 to today in the areas highlighted by the Council.

In the case of Albania, the update outlines progress in the implementation of justice reform and the vetting process of judges and prosecutors, on the track record demonstrated in the fight against corruption and organised crime, including when it comes to cannabis cultivation and hard drugs trafficking. It also points to other relevant issues, such as agreement on the way forward to electoral reform and efforts to tackle unfounded asylum claims.

In the case of North Macedonia, the update covers significant steps taken to strengthen independence of judiciary, including the recent adoption of the revised law on the Public Prosecutor's Office. It shows an improved track record in the fight against corruption and organised crime as well as progress in the reform of intelligence services and public administration.

Update on Albania

Update on North Macedonia


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