BERLIN (AA) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has renewed her support for opening EU membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia early this year.
Speaking to reporters Monday ahead of her meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Berlin, Merkel underlined that Germany strongly supports a European perspective for Albania and other Western Balkan states.
“We would like to reach an agreement in the upcoming EU Council meeting in March for the opening of EU membership talks with Albania, and also for North Macedonia,” Merkel said, stressing that both countries have made significant progress in recent years.
She particularly praised Albania’s progress in “judicial reform” and underlined that issues related to the rule of law will continue to play an important role during the country’s EU accession period.
Merkel also argued that not only the Western Balkan states, but also the European Union would greatly benefit from the region’s integration into the 28-member bloc.
“It will be good for all of us if one day the countries of Western Balkans would also become member states of the European Union,” she said.
Last year France effectively blocked the opening of EU membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia, arguing that both countries need to implement more reforms before talks could begin.