Netherlands now backs EU bids from Albania and North Macedonia – EURACTIV.com

The Dutch government is now backing the EU membership bids of Albania and North Macedonia despite stalled negotiations for the two Balkan countries with France and Denmark in 2019.

The cabinet and the coalition parties in the Dutch House of Representatives are now in favor of the accession of the two Balkan countries, which hope to start accession negotiations, to the European Union, reports the Dutch media NL Times.

Skopje’s membership bid is currently blocked by a Bulgarian veto over common language and history, while Tirana’s progress in the EU is tied to that of North Macedonia.

Last May, the European Parliament urged the European Council to start negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia on EU membership, noting “the geostrategic context of relations with Russia and its aggression against Ukrainian”.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte is now in favor of Albania and North Macedonia’s EU membership bids, the Dutch broadcaster says From Telegraaf reports. In 2018, he said Albania and North Macedonia would “weaken the whole Union“, citing corruption and a lack of press freedom. In 2019, the Dutch, along with France and Denmark, blocked negotiations for the two countries.

This is despite the significant decline in media freedom in Albania and corruption, especially at a high level, which remains a significant problem.

Rutte is now trying to gather support across the block. Last May, he and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz discussed the membership of North Macedonia and Albania at a press conference in The Hague.

“We are all trying together in the European Union to do everything in our power to ensure that the Western Balkans remain stable and that we find a solution to the problems that exist there, in particular concerning North Macedonia and Bulgaria. “, Rutte said at the time. .

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