Donald Tusk supports the start of EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk poses after being named new EU Council president during a European Union summit at the EU Headquarters in Brussels on August 30, 2014. European leaders named Tusk as the next EU president and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini to head the bloc's foreign service. AFP PHOTO/JOHN THYS

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Donald Tusk, President of the European Council on Wednesday, assured the support of Albania and Northern Macedonia in the EU accession talks on Wednesday, but added that several EU Member States are still opposed to it so that the process may be delayed.

He stated that although the two Western Balkan countries had met all the preconditions in recent years, not all Member States are ready to take the decision to start the negotiations in days. He stressed that the question was not whether it would happen, just when.
Tusk pointed out that from time to time he wanted to reach a consensus among the twenty-eight members of the community, but there is no doubt that the place is in the European Union.
Meanwhile, fourteen Member States, including the Foreign Minister of Hungary, urged the opening of accession negotiations in a joint statement, pointing out the need to preserve the credibility of EU enlargement policy.
It was stated that positive assessment would speed up the reform process that has been well advanced so far, and would also give impetus to other countries in the region, and would increase stakeholders’ resilience to other major powers, ensuring that the EU remains at the forefront of regional transformation. According to experts, they could refer mainly to China, Russia and Turkey.
The declaration was signed by all the former socialist countries, with the exception of Romania, which holds the EU Presidency until the end of June, and thus seeks to play a neutral role. They were joined by Austria, Malta and Italy.
The matter will be on the agenda of the meeting of EU ministers for EU affairs next Tuesday, and at the 7th Summit of Heads of State and Government.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has also urged, however, he said it was unlikely that approval would take place next week, as several countries also need a parliamentary decision, which he believes is more likely after the summer break.
According to press reports, Denmark, France and the Netherlands are mostly opposed to launching the process, which requires unanimity.

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