Europe can take decisions in times of crisisIlhan Kyuchyuk , Brussels
With its decision to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, the Council of the European Union has finally succeeded to live up to the expectations of the Western Balkan countries and their citizens, who have waited too long something positive to happen.
This move is even more significant now. Not because we are getting over the disappointment of the European Council's decision in October, but because Europe and the world are in an unprecedented situation.
The green light to start accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania shows that Europe can take decisions in times of crisis. Especially for the Western Balkan countries, we cannot afford to forsake the region at this precarious moment.
Together with some of the MEP colleagues, we have asked the European Commission to propose effective measures for supporting the Western Balkans in their fight against the coronavirus. I am pleased that this issue was also discussed at the Council meeting, as urgent decisions need to be taken and funding needs to be provided to the region. We must strive to respond to the humanitarian and civil protection opportunities. Only then will we be able to overcome this pandemic.
The adopted Council decision sets out the conditions that the two countries need to meet before the convening of the so-called “intergovernmental conferences” which formally start the negotiations. Emphasis is also placed on the new methodology, which should be used for the negotiation process. According to the document, EU enlargement will be “subject to stronger political steering, based on objective criteria and conditions, as well as reversibility of the whole process”.
Ilhan Kyuchyuk is a Bulgarian MEP from the group of Renew Europe/MRF. He is also a Vice-President of the ALDE Party. Since last November, he is the European Parliament's new standing rapporteur on North Macedonia.