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EU Member States, with the Presence of State Secretary Martin Klus, Confirmed their Capacity for Action by an Important Decision on the opening of Accession Negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia

EU Member States, with the Presence of State Secretary Martin Klus, Confirmed their Capacity for Action by an Important Decision on the opening of Accession Negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia

24.3.2020 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | Slovensko a Európska únia

Today (March 24, 2020), Martin Klus, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, took part in the meeting of ministers and state secretaries for European affairs. Due to restrictions related to the spread of the new coronavirus, the meeting took place in the form of a videoconference and replaced the regular formal meeting of the General Affairs Council in Brussels (GAC).

 

The most important outcome of the meeting of the European partners was the decision to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. The decision fully reflects the EU’s strategic view on the region of the Western Balkans and, at the same time, is a strong signal of the Union’s decisiveness and capacity for action even in these times of the spreading pandemic of COVID-19. The ministers of foreign and European affairs also endorsed the proposal of the European Commission to amend the procedures for accession negotiations, and engaged in a political discussion about EU enlargement in the future. 

 

In line with its long-standing support of the EU prospects of the Western Balkans, the Slovak Republic has actively backed the opening of accession negotiations with the two partners since both, Albania  and North Macedonia, have complied with the conditions required in order to make this step.

 

In his remarks, the State Secretary acknowledged the constructive approach of the member states, who, after uneasy negotiations, arrived at a consensus regarding this issue. He also said: “The opening of accession negotiations will allow both countries to make the effort at reforms even more intense. This decision sends a signal of engagement and solidarity to the whole region of the Western Balkans in the currently difficult situation. Slovakia supports the proposal of the European Commission which should offer a more dynamic, more credible and more foreseeable accession process, which will be beneficial for both the EU and the candidate countries. The speed of the EU membership for the candidate countries depends primarily on the readiness of their leaders to implement the necessary reforms, specifically with the emphasis on the rule of law.”

 

Prior to the upcoming, third videoconference of European leaders on COVID-19 (March 26, 2020), the partners also discussed the options for a deeper coordination of the EU member states regarding the fight against the spread of the new coronavirus. What resonated at the meeting was their interest in a continuing coordination of the repatriation of EU citizens from third countries, the emphasis on maintaining the free movement of goods and the appeal to continuously share information and the most efficient measures with the aim of finding the most efficient, common European approach.