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EU to begin negotiations membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania


EU to begin negotiations membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania

eu macedonia albania
Photo: Robert Atanasovski/AFP

EU leaders are set to meet via video chat today, when they will officially endorse the start of negotiations on North Macedonian and Albanian accession.

This is a continuation of enlargement proposals heard back in October 2019 that were largely agreed upon but ultimately blocked by Paris. Along with Denmark and the Netherlands, France’s Emmanuel Macron insisted on seeing more widespread civil reform in countries seeking inclusion.

However, the EU is in a hurry to enlarge its sphere of influence in an attempt to counter growing Chinese and Russian clout. As a result, this new round of negotiations looks to appease Paris and move forward with enlargement talks. Among the stricter conditions for admittance are judicial, electoral and anti-corruption reforms. After an accession process that can take years, an influx of foreign investment from Western Europe would be the first step towards economic growth in the Balkans. Skilled yet cheap labour would sweeten the bargain while the EU would look to encourage technological advancement in the increasingly digital world.

In the coming years, there is likely to be a struggle for influence over the Balkans, an area significant economic potential that’s still recovering from the breakup of Yugoslavia. The UK exit from the bloc will also likely factor in increased efforts at economic integration agreements extended to the Balkans.

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