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Albania and North Macedonia’s bid to join the European Union has gathered momentum in recent years as the two countries made progress on their quest to open accession negotiations.[1] While the European Commission has repeatedly called for the opening of accession talks,[2] the European Council failed to reach a decision on a starting date in June 2019 and postponed the discussions to the forthcoming EU summit to be held on 17-18 October 2019.[3] While skepticism towards enlargement is still prevalent in some key member states[4], further delays in setting a starting date could embolden anti-EU forces in the two aspiring countries and discredit their reform-oriented agendas, with pernicious ramifications.

 

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[1] https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20190529-north-macedonia-report.pdf

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20190529-north-macedonia-report.pdf

[3] https://www.rferl.org/a/eu-delays-decision-on-north-macedonia-albania-membership-talks/30006858.html

[4] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-balkans/france-opposes-eu-membership-talks-with-north-macedonia-albania-diplomats-idUSKBN1WP1Z0

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