The decision to launch accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania is of special importance as it continues the EU enlargement process, as well as because of the difficult circumstances it was reached in.
Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU has demonstrated that it remains operative and capable of making important decisions in spite of the extraordinary circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a profound effect on the way the EU works and communicates.
"The Croatian Government is satisfied that one of the Croatian presidency priorities has been fulfilled - the launch of entry talks with North Macedonia and Albania. This decision is the result of months of intense political and diplomatic efforts by the Croatian Government, which remained committed to achieving this goal despite the fact that no decision was made at the European Council meeting of October last year. By preparing the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb and through active dialogue with heads of member states and European institutions, we have managed to bring the enlargement issue back on the EU agenda," said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
The decision to launch accession talks includes a decision to start working on the negotiation frameworks as well. It is important that the European Commission begins working on this crucial aspect of the negotiating process. Once the frameworks are adopted, intergovernmental conferences that will formally open the talks with North Macedonia and Albania are to be convened as soon as possible. This decision is a message of encouragement for North Macedonia and Albania to continue implementing the reforms.