The European Union officially launched the preparatory work towards the opening of accession negotiations in June 2019 with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania, when Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, met with officials in Skope and Tirana on Tuesday.
In Skopje, the commissioner met with FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Speaker Talat Xhaferi, and representatives of political parties, and addressed the National Council for European Integration. In Tirana Hahn met with Albanian President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama and government representatives.
Speaking to journalists in Skopje, Hahn said that he was pleased to announce the official launch of the screening process. He said the process would allow FYROM and Albania to become familiar with European regulations, and the EU to determine the extent of their commitment to observing the regulations, especially in terms of the state of law.
During his address at the national council he called the process “an appointment with history”, and said there was no time to lose, as it was “only the beginning of a long journey.” He called on all forces in the country to rally before the challenges ahead and take adavantage of a unique opportunity to make a difference for the better.
He congratulated FYROM on the agreement it signed with Greece on the name issue and on the invitation to join NATO once the agreement was implemented. He also called on citizens of the Balkan country to ratify the deal with Greece, as “the door to the EU is now open” and it is up to them to seize the opportunity.
Following his meetings in Albania for the official launch of preparatory work there, Hahn called on the government to “start work as soon as possible,” producing results “to quell all doubts.”