Procedure : 2019/2883(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0160/2019

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 23/10/2019 - 21
CRE 23/10/2019 - 21

Votes :

PV 24/10/2019 - 8.10
CRE 24/10/2019 - 8.10
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Hilde Vautmans, Ilhan Kyuchyuk</Depute>

<Commission>{Renew}on behalf of the Renew Group</Commission>


See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0156/2019


European Parliament resolution on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania


The European Parliament,

 having regard to the European Council’s decision of 16 December 2005 to grant North Macedonia the status of candidate for EU membership and the European Council decision of 26-27 June 2014 to grant Albania candidate country status,

 having regard to the Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs) between the European Communities and their Member States and the two countries in question, Albania and North Macedonia,

 having regard to the Final Agreement for the Settlement of the Differences as described in United Nations Security Council Resolutions 817 (1993) and 845 (1993), the Termination of the Interim Accord of 1995 and the Establishment of a Strategic Partnership between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia of 17 June 2018, also known as the Prespa Agreement,

 having regard to the European Council conclusions of 28 June 2018 endorsing the Council conclusions of 26 June 2018 on enlargement and the stabilisation and association process,

 having regard to the European Council conclusions of October and June 2019,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas EU enlargement to the countries of the Western Balkans constitutes a central part of the European project and is a strategic investment in peace, democracy, prosperity, security and stability in Europe; whereas all Western Balkans countries were promised a clear prospect of future membership in the European Union at the Thessaloniki summit in 2003;

B. whereas Albania applied for EU membership in 2009 and was granted candidate country status in 2014; whereas in 2016 the Commission recommended that accession negotiations be opened with Albania; whereas North Macedonia applied for membership in 2004 and became a candidate country in 2005; whereas the Commission has repeatedly recommended that formal accession negotiations be opened with North Macedonia;

C. whereas the European Union should engage in an in-depth democratic reform process in order to be able to act democratically and efficiently, including with a larger number of Member States;

D. whereas the accession process should be reviewed in order to take stock of previous experiences and to ensure a more robust and focused process;

E. whereas accession negotiations will allow close EU scrutiny and constitute a powerful catalyst for implementing reforms and consolidating democratic institutions and practices, in particular in the areas of the judiciary, the rule of law and fundamental rights through the work on the sectoral negotiation chapters 23 and 24, which are of central and fundamental importance throughout the process;

F. whereas the opening of negotiations is only the start of a long process covering all aspects of EU legislation and gradual adjustment to EU standards; whereas each candidate country should be judged individually on its own merits, and it is the speed and quality of reforms that should determine the timetable for the pace of negotiations;

1. Notes that the European Council did not reach a unanimous decision, as required, to open accession negotiations with Albania and/or North Macedonia during its meeting of 17 to 18 October, and that the decision taken was to return to the matter in May 2020;

2. Recalls that Parliament has expressed strong support for the opening of accession negotiations with the two countries, as proposed by the Commission;

3. Underlines that the postponement decision by the October European Council follows similar postponements in June 2018 and June 2019 and constitutes a further hurdle for Albania and North Macedonia that may jeopardise the European reform process in the countries concerned and in the wider region;

4. Notes that part of the argument in favour of postponement was the need to review the current format of accession negotiations; considers that such a review, incorporating the lessons learned from previous enlargements, should be undertaken by the incoming Commission, in parallel with the legislative work on the new financial instrument for Pre-Accession, IPA III, with an ambitious timetable in time for the May 2020 European Council in Zagreb;

5. Underlines the need for democratic reform if the Union’s enlargement policy is to be ambitious, credible and successful for all parts; stresses that the forthcoming conference on the future of Europe will pave the way for such reforms; notes the urgent need for a clear internal reform agenda in order to protect the EU’s credibility in the enlargement process;

6. Calls on Albania and North Macedonia to continue with their internal reform agendas, notably as regards the judiciary, the rule of law and the fight against corruption in order to maintain momentum and credibility as serious and committed candidate countries ready to embark on a long process of accession negotiations; emphasises the importance for the EU of assisting Western Balkans countries in their reform efforts, including through technical and economic support;

7. Expresses its commitment to the prospect of future EU membership for the Western Balkans and the need to maintain the enlargement process as a credible incentive for development and reforms in the region;

8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EU Member States and the candidate and potential candidate countries in the Western Balkans.


Last updated: 22 October 2019Legal notice