The EC Has Warned that EU Enlargement Talks Are Long And They Will Take Time
The European Commission has today recommended for the second time that the EU should start negotiations on the accession of northern Macedonia and Albania.
EU Neighborhood Commissioner Johannes Hahn noted that the negotiation process has so far been protracted and that it will not change.
,,The beginning of the negotiations does not mean that they will end tomorrow or in a few days. These are long-term processes, it is unrealistic to think that the process will be short'', he said.
,,There is still much work in the Western Balkans on issues of the rule of law, human rights, the fight against corruption and organized crime, good neighborliness, following the Macedonian example. We are not against China's presence in the region, but European standards must be respected in terms of transparency, public procurement, financial commitment'', added the EU commissioner.
,,Northern Macedonia and Albania took the opportunity in the best way. Albania has undergone a profound change in the justice system. We have to admit progress, even if there is still work'', he said.
,,Northern Macedonia has reached a historic agreement with Greece, has changed the constitution. The country has become an example of reconciliation and good neighborly relations, including the treaty with Bulgaria, and is the only state in the region that has no dispute with neighbors today. Action was taken against corruption, fair elections were produced'', the EU commissioner added.
,,The ball is in the EU field'', said Foreign Policy and Security High Representative Federica Mogherini.
,,We note remarkable progress in northern Macedonia and Albania. We value the achievements in Skopje's relations with Athens and Sofia. Judicial reform in Albania continues and gives visible results. In the past year, the EU has made huge investments in the Western Balkans, including the region's strategy and the Sofia summit'', she added.
,,Turkey remains a candidate for EU accession and a key, strategically important partner. It is in the interest of the citizens to reverse the direction of the retreat from the reforms, to end tensions with neighbours, especially in the Mediterranean Sea'', Mogherini explained.
In her words, there would be discouragement, especially among young people in the region, if the EU ceases to be a prospect.
,,The EU is an opportunity for reconciliation, we have the common responsibility to make the changes irreversible'', the High Representative said.
According to Mogherini, the main driver for the EU's enlargement today is the countries of the Community whose neighbours are not in the EU.
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