Tusk believes that the refusal was a mistake, as both countries complied with all the conditions, but several EU member states voted against the start of negotiations.
The European Council did not unanimously vote for the decision to start negotiations on EU membership with Albania and Northern Macedonia. This was stated by President of the European Council Donald Tusk following a meeting of the heads of state and government of the EU in Brussels on Friday, October 18.
“Last night, leaders discussed EU enlargement. The vast majority expressed themselves in favor of opening accession negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania. However, such a decision should be unanimous. There was no such unanimity yesterday. For this reason, the European Union will consider this issue again before the summit in Zagreb, due to be held in May 2020”, – Tusk said.
He emphasized separately that there was no fault in Northern Macedonia and Albania. The report of the European Commission, on the basis of which the leaders considered the issue of starting negotiations, clearly indicates that both countries did everything they asked to do, and the adoption of an agreement in Prespa on a new name for Northern Macedonia was really an extraordinary achievement, Tusk emphasized.
“Therefore, both countries have the right to start negotiations with the EU from today. They are ready. Unfortunately, several member countries are not ready for this yet. This is precisely the reason why we could not reach a positive solution. I personally think that this was a mistake, but I will not comment on it in the future”, – Tusk said.
He called on both countries to “not give up” and expressed the conviction that one day they would gain full membership in the European Union.
“Today I want to send a message to our friends in Northern Macedonia and Albania: please do not give up. I can fully understand your despair because you have contributed, and we have not. The EU is a complex political entity, and this is true “that sometimes taking a decision takes too much time. But I have absolutely no doubt that one day you will become full members of the European Union”, – the President of the European Council added.
Earlier, Northern Macedonia was forced to change its name in order to join the EU and NATO, as Greece, which is a member of the EU, insisted on this.
Nevertheless, earlier today it became known that the EU refused to start negotiations on the accession of the two countries. European Commissioner Khan said EU leaders “failed to fulfill their obligation” to start negotiations.