Juncker and Tusk: Delaying Talks with Skopje and Tirana Was a Huge Mistake

World » EU | October 22, 2019, Tuesday // 16:13
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Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk have made statements on Brexit's conclusions at last week's European Council, the European Union reported. They were also joined by Manfred Weber, with statements on Turkey and its Syrian operation. The issue of rejection of negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania was also addressed.

"A no-deal Brexit will never be our decision", Tusk said. Then Tusk paid tribute to Jean-Claude Juncker in his address, saying he admired his work, though he did not always agree with him.

"It was an emotional moment for me last week when I attended my last European Council together with my good friend Donald," Juncker admitted before turning to the discussed concept of Brexit. The Brexit talks are "a waste of time and a waste of energy," he said.

"I will always regret the United Kingdom's decision to leave the Union… but we have done everything we can to prepare the EU for all eventualities," he continued, adding that Westminster must ratify any withdrawal agreement before the EU does so. 

As for the budget, Juncker said the Finnish president's proposals were not acceptable: "you cannot shape Europe with 1% GDP."

On enlargement, Juncker like Tusk called not opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania a "huge mistake".

The Socialists group leader Spanish MEP Iratxe García also condemned the move not to start accession talks with the two Balkan countries, saying their membership would "contribute to the stability in the region."

"This is a grave error because it affects these two countries in their heart," Juncker said.

As for Turkey's military incursion in Syria, it was Weber who condemned it the most, adding he was "disappointed" that the council "did not take more robust measures" against Turkey who he called an "aggressor".

"Turkey benefits from the customs union and the internal market and at the same, it's an aggressor," he said, Euronews reported.

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Tags: Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, macedonia, Albania
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