EC President: “No unanimity among member states on opening negotiations”

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 25, 2020 09:40

EC President: “No unanimity among member states on opening negotiations”

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  • He said the first pillar is the need for the governments of the EU member states to think about the enlargement process and the reforms required, in order for this process to be credible and with political leadership.

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TIRANA, Jan. 24 - European Council President Charles Michel in a joint press statement with Prime Minister Edi Rama said there is still no unanimity among EU member states countries on whether Albania should open accession negotiations with the union.

Michel also stated in Tirana that he hoped the Donor Conference on February 17 would be a real support for the Albanian people after the severe November 26 earthquake.

He said the first pillar is the need for the governments of the EU member states to think about the enlargement process and the reforms required, in order for this process to be credible and with political leadership.

“Before the summer, the European Commission made proposals to the European Council regarding the opening of negotiations for Albania andNorthern Macedonia. We will have this debate at the European Council on the basis of a proposal to be made again by the European Commission on this subject. We are here,” Michel said. 

He added the European Commission should be clear on its orientation and then engage into constructive dialogue with the member states regarding the decision.

“The European Commission must be clear about the orientation it will make and then we will need to consult the member states and it will be a strong dialogue, an intensive dialogue and a responsible dialogue and I as President of the European Council will encourage the approach of the views and will encourage the European Commission to decide,” said Michel.

Michel said the Council of Europe needs to make a decision with which all member states will adhere to and that all work pillars should advance parallelly. 

“Work has begun. Very soon we will have the opportunity to have a discussion. It will be part of my work on how steps can be taken. As president of the CoE I can say that today we do not have unanimity,” said Michel.

The third point, according to him, is the mobilization that needs to be done around the European Union's table to achieve an investment and growth pact for the Western Balkans, a growth pact that will mobilize all possible spheres in order to encourage economic development - a key condition for advancing social and economic progress and also for advancing all regional cooperation.

Meanwhile, Rama reiterated his belief that the EU will support Albania both in overcoming the damages of the November earthquake and in the progress of the integration process.

"We have also spoken with the President of the European Council about the reform process and the integration process. We have shared views on what has been achieved so far, what needs to be achieved at the same time, and on the internal discussion in the EU of what is now known as the new Enlargement Methodology, and overall I am very pleased that the President has expressed the will to be especially committed to the region,” Rama said. 

Asked if he will lobby for opening negotiations, Rama said that under these conditions, even if France asked to join the EU, it would not be accepted by France. 

“It is a decision within the EU and we must respect it. What is happening in view of a new methodology should be seen as a new opportunity for our relationship with the EU,” he said. 

“We would continue to do the same thing if we had opened the negotiations. There is a clarity to the fact that our reforms are moving forward, that the expected results are coming and will continue to come.”

Albania is awaiting widespread support on February 17th when a donor conference will be held to overcome the severe damage of the earthquake, as well as in March if the opening of negotiations for full EU membership is approved.

The November 26 earthquake claimed the lives of 51 people, wounded about 1,000 and nearly 15,000 people lost their homes, and now hopes that EU member states and other donors will assist with the reconstruction.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 25, 2020 09:40