European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the she hopes Macedonia and Albania can open EU accession talks even before the Zageb summit. Meanwhile, the Dutch Ambassador to Macedonia Dirk-Jan Kop warned that the issue is not settled yet, as some countries may insist that Macedonia remains coupled to Albania – and the Netherlands opposes opening accession talks with Albania.

The Western Balkans are a priority for our Commission. I think it’s in our common geo-strategic interest to have the Western Balkans as close as possible to the EU. We have revised our methodology and it should regain trust on all sides on the process. We want to pave a way for “North Macedonia” and Albania to start the accession talks, if possible before the Zagreb summit. We are preparing an investment package and hope very much the Counci lwill give a green light for this prospect, Von der Leyen said during the Brussels meeting of Balkan countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron indicated he may approve the opening of EU accession talks, now that a new methodology was prepared by the European Commission. But the Netherlands remains opposed to accession talks for Albania, and countries like Italy and Greece insist that Macedonia and Albania remain coupled.

– We evaluate the countries individually and at the moment we are in a position to see room for “North Macedonia” to begin its accession talks, but not Albania, said Ambassador Kop. He said that some EU member states want the accession talks to begin in a package, which can again become a problem.