(12 June 2019) – 13 EU countries, mostly new members from Central and Eastern Europe, plus Italy and Austria, are drafting a ‘non-paper’ that will be presented to the EU-28 in an attempt to revive the credibility of the bloc’s enlargement, primarily with the Western Balkans in mind.
The 13 are Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Malta.
The paper should be presented at a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday. “The idea is to launch a call for the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia,” a diplomat said.
The European Commission has formally recommended opening talks with Skopje and Tirana, but the decision has to be confirmed by all member states in the Council, where France and the Netherlands lead the opposition.
In Germany, enlargement has split the ruling grand coalition. The CDU/CSU wants to oppose a quick start of talks with Tirana and Skopje. Gunther Krichbaum, chairman of the Bundestag’s Europe Committee, said a decision will not be reached before October. (EurActiv)