The EU agreed Tuesday that it would begin membership negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.
The European Affairs Ministers met via video conference led by the Croatian European Affairs Minister, Andreja Metelko-Zgombic. During the conference, the Affairs Ministers agreed to pursue the membership negotiations with the two countries.
Metelko-Zgombic stated, “It was my great pleasure to chair today’s informal video conference of [European Union] Affairs Ministers where a political decision to open accession negotiations with [Northern Macedonia] and [Albania] was reached. Congratulations to both countries!” The announcement closely follows after North Macedonia penned its last NATO ascension document Friday and signed its NATO ascension agreement in February 2019.
The EU has faced unique communication challenges amidst the COVID-19 breakout. On Monday, EU diplomats criticized the necessary video conferences in place of in-person meetings. Diplomats cited technical difficulties with audio and translations that hinder negotiations. Accordingly, the EU has yet to post a date for commencing North Macedonia and Albania membership negotiations. The EU will likely give its official statement on the matter on Thursday according to the AP report.
The membership negotiations could take years to confirm membership.