ZAGREB, March 26, 2020 – EU member states have formally given their consent in writing for opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, Croatia’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Goran Grlić Radman said on Wednesday, who considers that this is Croatia’s success amid coronavirus and earthquakes.
“Croatia managed to do this in very difficult conditions, fighting with coronavirus and earthquakes in Zagreb,” said Grlić Radman.
The European Commission is starting to work on the negotiation framework, which is expected by June, he said.
This morning, EU member states adopted the decision to open negotiations with Skopje and Tirana.
Blocking the two countries in October last year was “an unexpected decision”, Grlić Radman said, pointing out the fact that Croatia had started working on the issue during preparations for its first presidency of the Council of the EU.
“Croatia has made all foreign-policy efforts to convince all member states that it was necessary to open negotiations with these two countries, because the European prospects of West Balkan countries, stability, and security, were in the interest of the EU. This is a great political success for Croatia,” Grlić Radman stated.
The exact date when the negotiations would start is not known as yet, however, the minister thinks that the date is not important now, but that the important thing is to send a message to other West Balkan countries that it was worthwhile to work on their European prospects, meeting criteria, and accepting European values.
The EU-Western Balkans summit in Zagreb, the central event of the Croatian Presidency of the EU, will take place in May, and for now it will not be postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus.
“The date still stands. We hope that we will have overcome this crisis by then. We are ready for May, and we are not thinking about cancelling it,” stated the minister.
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