Mitsotakis urges EU accession talks with North Macedonia, Albania

Mitsotakis urges EU accession talks with North Macedonia, Albania

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed hope in an interview with the Financial Times on Tuesday that French President Emmanuel Macron would remove any obstacles to European Union accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, after blocking the process in October.

“If we look at the big geopolitical context, it is very clear that the European path needs to be kept open for all Western Balkan countries, provided they meet the requirements,” Mitsotakis told the FT, saying that he hopes France’s move to block the opening of talks with Skopje and Tirana was a “mistake” that will be “corrected.”

The Greek premier said he thinks the issue of enlargement needs to be revisited in 2020, particularly amid concerns of Russian involvement in the region. “I was worried, I am worried, and I will continue to be worried,” he said when asked about Moscow’s role.

Speaking ahead of a NATO summit in London, the Greek center-right leader also took issue with Macron’s recent comments describing the alliance as “brain-dead.”

“It’s one thing to say NATO is in need of reform, and it’s completely different to actually say that NATO is brain-dead,” Mitsotakis told the FT. “I do agree that Europe as a whole needs to develop more defense capabilities, but discarding NATO as a pillar of peace in the post-world war two world goes too far for my taste.”

The Greek prime minister, however, sided with Macron on the need for eurozone reform, expressing concern that the issue may not be among the top priorities of the new European Commission leadership.

“We should not forget about eurozone reform simply because we’re not faced with a crisis,” Mitsotakis told the FT.

“You build a roof when it’s not raining,” he added.

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