Talks in Brussels continued on Friday on the European Union accession prospects of North Macedonia and Albania after tense talks ended in a deadlock the previous night on objections from France, The Netherlands and Denmark, who strenuously oppos the position of the other 25 member-states to commence negotiations with the two Balkan nations.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the timing was “not right” and told reporters that his objections were stronger about Albania than North Macedonia. “There were long talks about the system of accession. We need to change that,” he said.
The strongest objections, however, were voiced by French President Emmanuel Macron, who also cited procedural issues for blocking the process, prevailing over European Council President Donald Tusk and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others who are in favor of expansion into the Western Balkans.
European Parliament President David Sassoli also spoke in support of Albania and North Macedonia, saying that it will be “hard to explain to the people of those countries why we are delaying” the negotiations for their accession.