During her meeting with Balkan leaders in Tirana, Albania, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel again expressed her sorrow that Macedonia and Albania were not allowed to open their EU accession talks.

Merkel said that the two countries met the criteria to open the accession talks, but that the Bulgarian veto stopped them. She blamed nationalists in Bulgaria, insisting that in some countries, nationalists affect the decision making even of more moderate governments, adding that the EU is held hostage to nationalism.

Merkel is on a farewell tour of the Balkans, during which she visited Serbia and Albania. She skipped Macedonia, but Macedonian officials were invited to join other Balkan leaders in Tirana.