Friday 7 May 2021
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Are France and the Netherlands going to keep Albania outside the EU?

Next week the European Union (EU) faces a strategically important choice to formalize the admission of Northern Macedonia and Albania. Prior to these crucial decisions, the President of the European People's Party (EPP), Joseph Daul, has also expressed his support for this.

Last week, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Parliament, in a joint letter, had called for the reopening of accession negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania. Brussels had already concluded in May that both countries had made sufficient progress in the fight against corruption and crime and the reform of the judiciary, and that there were no obstacles for the next admission phase.

Almost all EU countries agree that those two Balkan countries should be admitted. But France and especially the Netherlands are still bothering. This week it again became clear how the debate in the Dutch parliament is often narrowed to fear of the arrival of Albanian criminals. The idea that the Union has been 'expanded too quickly' in recent years has spread widely among Dutch politicians.

Northern Macedonia and Albania have made progress in recent years in improving their government, tax system and transparency. They also have cooperation with former & #8216; enemy Serbia & #8217; a little further normalized, according to Brussels. Although much still needs to be done, according to many, admitting those two countries to the European Union is the natural next step.

The Dutch foreign think tank Clingendael Institute also recently published a study demonstrating the need to keep the Beams at Europe & #8217. Others, on the other hand, believe that the euro-skeptic attitude of many residents of some countries is mainly due to a feeling of rejection about the rapid and uncontrolled admission of new EU countries.

Next week's decision is considered by many to be historic and decisive for the future of the European continent. The path to membership for Northern Macedonia and Albania will be long, as many recognize. The countries of the Western Balkans are close partners; historical, geographical and economic. Many say that the EU will only be complete if the region is part of our union.

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