The European Commission is hoping to start accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia before the end of the year, its president, Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday, as she began a regional tour ahead of the EU-Western Balkans Summit on October 6.
“Allow me to make one thing clear, Albania’s future is in the European Union,” von der Leyen told a press conference after a meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama in Tirana, the first of six stops she will be making over the next few days, Euronews reported.
“I have given my full support so we can move forward with the negotiations of Albania’s and North Macedonia’s accession into the EU, as soon as possible,” she said. “I really want to bring this process forward so that we can start before the end of the year. That is the goal.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Commission spokesperson Dana Spinant confirmed at a press briefing that the “EU commission president is pushing for the start of intergovernmental conferences for both Albania and North Macedonia before the end of the year.”
Von der Leyen is also traveling to Skopje on Tuesday, before heading to Pristina, Podgorica, Belgrade and Sarajevo.