Procedure : 2019/2883(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0161/2019

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>Michael Gahler, Željana Zovko, David McAllister, Sandra Kalniete, Kinga Gál, Andor Deli, László Trócsányi</Depute>

<Commission>{PPE}on behalf of the PPE 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 Council conclusions of 17 and 18 October 2019,

 having regard to the Council conclusions on enlargement and stabilisation and association process of 18 June 2019,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 29 May 2019 on EU enlargement policy (COM(2019)0260), accompanied by the Commission staff working documents entitled ‘Albania 2019 Report’ (SWD(2019)0215) and ‘North Macedonia 2019 Report’ (SWD(2019)0218),

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in particular those of 15 February 2017[1] and 29 November 2018[2] on the 2016 and 2018 Commission Reports on Albania, and those of 14 June 2017[3] and 29 November 2018[4] on the 2016 and 2018 Commission Reports on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia/North Macedonia,

 having regard to Albania’s accession to NATO in 2009 and the fact that North Macedonia is currently on its way to becoming the 30th member of NATO,

 having regard to the joint letter of 3 October 2019 by Presidents Tusk, Sassoli and Juncker and President-elect Von der Leyen on the opening of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 16 October 2013 entitled ‘Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2013-2014’ (COM(2013)0700),

 having regard to the Presidency conclusions of the Thessaloniki European Council of 19 and 20 June 2003 concerning the prospect of the Western Balkan countries joining the European Union,

 having regard to the Final Agreement for the settlement of the differences as described in UN Security Council resolutions 817 (1993) and 845 (1993), the termination of the Interim Accord of 1995, and the establishment on 17 June 2018 of a Strategic Partnership between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, also known as the Prespa Agreement,

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

A. whereas in 2003 the Thessaloniki European Council underlined its support for the future integration of the Western Balkan countries into European structures and stated that their ultimate membership of the Union is a high priority for the EU and that the Balkans will be an integral part of a unified Europe;

B. whereas the European Council decided that it would revert to the issue of enlargement before the EU‑Western Balkans summit to be held in Zagreb in May 2020;

C. whereas the decision on opening negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania was already postponed in June 2019;

D. whereas snap elections were announced in North Macedonia in response to the postponement of the decision on opening negotiations with the country;

1. Expresses its deep disappointment at the EU’s failure to agree on opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, since both countries have made considerable efforts to meet the EU’s requirements for opening accession negotiations, including difficult and historic achievements such as the ratification of the Prespa Agreement on the part of North Macedonia and the judiciary reform carried out by Albania;

2. Stresses that such a non-decision has a detrimental effect on the EU’s credibility, given that the integration of eligible countries helps the EU to uphold its international role and protect its interests, while progressing on the path towards EU accession also has a transformative effect on the candidate countries themselves; furthermore states that the EU’s enlargement policy has been the most effective foreign policy instrument of the Union and that its further dismantlement might lead to an increasingly unstable situation in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood;

3. Notes that there cannot be a reform of the enlargement process after the process has been launched, and that the process should not hinder those countries which meet the requirements for opening accession negotiations; furthermore notes that candidate countries need to be assessed on the basis of their own merits and of objective criteria, rather than on considerations of internal politics in individual Member States, and that it is the speed and quality of reforms that determine the timetable for accession;

4. Highlights that the EU’s failure to open accession negotiations has resulted in snap elections being called in North Macedonia, resulting in a loss of credibility for those who have made compromises; considers that, in terms of good neighbourly relations, this situation creates a negative image of those candidate countries; notes with concern that this could allow other foreign actors, whose activities might not be in line with EU values and interests, to engage more closely with both North Macedonia and Albania;

5. Stresses that this decision sends a warning signal to other candidate countries and potential candidate countries in the Western Balkans and creates openings for other influences;

6. Regrets that this decision defeats the efforts made by the Parliament in the enlargement process and the Strategy for the Western Balkans;

7. Regrets that the Member States were not able to come to a unanimous decision on the opening of negotiations, and calls on Member States to show responsibility towards Albania and North Macedonia and to take a unanimous positive decision on the opening of negotiations, while bearing in mind the consequences of such a non-action given that the failure to take bold decisions undermines the EU’s stability, predictability and credibility in the eyes of our partners;

8. Considers that the upcoming Commission should immediately take stock of the enlargement policy, taking into account the effects caused by the Council’s recent decision, while emphasising the advantages of enlargement both for candidate countries and for EU Member States; furthermore believes that in line with this, the Commission should re-evaluate and amend the Strategy for the Western Balkans of February 2018;

9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, and the Governments and Parliaments of North Macedonia and Albania.


[1] OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 122.

[2] Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0481.

[3] OJ C 331, 18.9.2018, p. 88

[4] Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0480.

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