The European Union has officially begun its accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania after years of disputes.
North Macedonia and Albania were given the go-ahead by the EU to formally begin membership talks after North Macedonia’s parliament decided on Saturday to resolve a dispute with its neighboring country, Bulgaria.
Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that they “have taken another important step towards bringing the Western Balkans closer to the EU.”
The announcement follows the signing by North Macedonia and Bulgaria on Sunday of an agreement that would make Macedonian an official language in the EU.
North Macedonia was recognized as a candidate for EU membership over 20 years ago, while Albania became a candidate in 2014.
Due to a disagreement between the two nations over a broad variety of linguistic and historical concerns, Bulgaria had until recently prevented any advancement in the membership talks.
The Bulgarian parliament last month agreed to suspend its veto in exchange for EU assurances that North Macedonia will abide by specific requests on linguistic and cultural matters.
“Today is the day when we start writing a new chapter in Macedonian history. Chapter of accelerated development, prosperity, and stability,” said North Macedonia’s President Dimitar Kovachevski.
The Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz said that he “welcomes the vote of the Macedonian Parliament, which clears the way for the first accession conferences of the European Union with North Macedonia and Albania.”
The accession talks will formally begin in Brussels this week with the arrival of Kovachevski and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.
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