The new year brought new hopes for Albania to unlock the start of official accession negotiations with the European Union. Hopes - as reported by Deutsche Welle - who come from France, the new European Commission and the Croatian presidency (strong supporter of the accession of the Western Balkans) to the European Council.
In this sense, the attentions of Albania (and North Macedonia) are addressed to the EU-Western Balkans summit which will be held on 6 and 7 May in Zagreb and which could represent the turning point for the start of negotiations with the two countries. France - which had vetoed the opening of negotiations in the Council of Ministers last October - also appears to be reviewing its position.
"France hopes that the Zagreb Summit will be a time of unity and success for Europe. ”- said President Macron during the meeting of 7 January with the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
The new membership methodology
President Macron's statements on the Zagreb Summit were accompanied by appreciation for the changes expected in the new EU accession methodology, defined by the French head of state himself as "a prerequisite for opening negotiations with candidate countries" despite have been coldly welcomed by a considerable number of EU member countries.
Not surprisingly, last December nine EU countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Slovenia) had proposed to the European Commission not to "influence the changes in the accession methodology on the decision. concerning the opening of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia ".
Line of thought shared also by the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen:
"We must not change the conditions for Albania and North Macedonia now. We have to keep our promises. Albania and North Macedonia have met the criteria required to start the accession talks. The EU aims to ensure Albania and North Macedonia that the door is open and that accession negotiations can begin. ”- said the president at the conference held in Zagreb.