Albania and Northern Macedonia are not yet allowed to start negotiations for accession to the European Union. That is the result of consultations between EU ministers in Luxembourg. France and the Netherlands in particular are blocking the calls.
France believes that the EU must first reform and reorganize itself before it can expand. The Netherlands believes that Albania is not yet taking adequate action against crime and does not yet have a good legal system.
According to most other EU member states, the time is ripe to turn the current preliminary phase (which has been going on for several years) into real admission agreements. According to the European Commission and EU President Tusk, the two Balkan countries have done everything that was expected of them.
The European Union now has 28 member states. Before a new country becomes a member or accession negotiations begin, all current Member States must agree. The choice is now left to the RU government leaders, Thursday and Friday, at their summit in Brussels.
France believes that the EU must first reform the accession process. The Netherlands believes that much remains to be done, especially in Albania. A proposal to allow only Northern Macedonia to pass is met with resistance from several countries. They did not want to deal with the issues separately.
France and the Netherlands are wary, because in the past the EU has often been expanded too quickly with too many countries. But proponents say: if you don't let Albania and Northern Macedonia start talking now, those countries may be prone to Chinese or Russian influence.
It can take ten years or more for accession interviews to lead to EU membership. Negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro have been difficult for years. Those with Turkey are in the refrigerator. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo remain potential candidate countries.