Petříček: “The Czech Republic will do its outmost to begin talks on EU expansion in Balkans”

26-02-2020

The Czech Republic will do its outmost within the EU to begin negotiation talks with Northern Macedonia and Albania about their entry into the union next month, Foreign Minister Tomas Petříček said on Wednesday following a meeting with his counterpart from Northern Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov.

Mr Petříček went on to stress that both countries have fulfilled the necessary conditions and that further delay is therefore unwarranted.

Negotiations were originally set to take place already in October last year, but were delayed until March. Some countries, such as France, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands, are reserved in the matter of Balkan succession and the Czech Foreign Ministry is trying to change that Mr Petricek said.

There are hopes that Thursday’s Visegrad Four states’ negotiations with those of the Western Balkans, which are being attended by the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Olivér Várhelyi could help the process. Northern Macedonia’s accession talks into the EU were blocked for many years by Greece, due to a dispute about the formers name.