The Netherlands rejects opening EU accession negotiations for Albania in 2019

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 14, 2019 10:23

The Netherlands rejects opening EU accession negotiations for Albania in 2019

Story Highlights

  • On Thursday, however, the Dutch parliament also passed a motion that sought the opposite for North Macedonia. MPs voted for opening negotiations with the state.

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TIRANA, June 13 – The Dutch parliament made the Netherlands the first EU member state to officially announced on Thursday it will object to the opening of accession negotiations with the EU for Albania, while approving it for North Macedonia.

The Dutch Parliament blocked on Thursday the opening of EU membership negotiations with Albania this year by 70 percent of its parliament.

A motion submitted by MPs from the governing coalition parties was voted in the Dutch parliament, asking the Dutch government to vote in the European Council against the opening of negotiations with Albania.

The motion received the votes of 105 out of 150 MPs in the Dutch parliament. This whopping over 2/3 is unexpected.

This motion was presented by deputies Pieter Omtzigt , Anne Mulder and Nico Drost, whose parties are part of the Dutch government coalition.

According to the government itself, Albania has not achieved tangible results in the fight against corruption and organized crime.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Block said that the European Commission’s recommendation to open negotiations with Albania was premature. He added that Albania has not met the criteria of the fight against corruption and organized crime.

Blocking the opening of negotiations with Albania comes after the Dutch parliament officially asked two weeks ago the government for the EU to re-establish visas for Albanians.

Prime Minister Rama despised this parliamentary request, saying it was a populist move and that the Dutch government did not have to ask the EU for the resettlement of visas.

In fact, the Dutch government submitted the request to the European Commission, which has begun its review and is expected to come up with a decision within three weeks.

On Thursday, however, the Dutch parliament also passed a motion that sought the opposite for North Macedonia. MPs voted for opening negotiations with the state.

Another motion related to Albania did not get the support of the MPs, as was presented by far-right MP Vicky Maeijer. This motion required that negotiations with Albania should never be opened.

The Dutch Embassy to Tirana released a statement following the publication of the decision of the Netherlands, stating the EU’s enlargement policy is founded on rigorous conditions that seeks to guarantee the reforms undertaken by each new member state are founded and will last.

“However, there are also steps, particularly in the fight against corruption and organized crime, which Albania still needs to take before meeting the criteria set by the Council in June 2018 before accession negotiations can be opened. We strongly encourage the government of Albania to continue its path. We recognize how challenging is the process of accession and we will continue to support Albania in its reforms as much as we can, especially in the area of ​​rule of law,” the embassy announcement said.

On Wednesday, European Council President Donald Tusk also said that he backs the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, but warned that not all EU member states agree with this assessment.

At a joint press conference with President of the North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, President Tusk, said that both states have “all that is expected” to continue the path towards membership, but, he underlined, “not all member states are prepared to make the decision to open negotiations in the coming days.”

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 14, 2019 10:23