The European Commission recommended on Tuesday the opening of accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania, “in light of the progress achieved.”
The recommendation to the EU Council of Ministers was presented during a meeting which adopted the Committee’s annual Enlargement Package. For the first time, together with the Enlargement Package, the Commission also published its annual assessments of the Economic Reform Programmes for the Western Balkans and Turkey, which show continued economic growth and efforts to strengthen macroeconomic and fiscal stability in the light of current vulnerabilities.
“A step forward today for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania is a step forward for the entire Western Balkans region,” said Federica Mogerini, igh epresentative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Commission vice president. “Our strategic focus and engagement are delivering practical progress and benefits to the people in the region. The work on reforms and modernisation however needs to continue, in the interest of the partners and the European Union,” she added.
According to the Commission, FYROM will need to deliver on the urgent reform priorities for the country’s further progress in accession, while in Albania’s case, progress will be crucial in the key field in the rule of law and in continuing to deliver concrete and tangible results.
The current enlargement agenda covers the partners of the Western Balkans and Turkey. Accession negotiations have been opened with candidate countries Montenegro (2012), Serbia (2014), Turkey (2005). The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is a candidate country since 2005 and Albania obtained candidate status in 2014. Bosnia and Herzegovina (application to join the EU submitted in February 2016) and Kosovo (Stabilisation and Association Agreement entered into force in April 2016) are potential candidates.