Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on the European Commission’s updates on progress made by Albania and North Macedonia

02.03.2020 - Press release

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (2 March) on the European Commission’s presentation of updates on progress made by Albania and North Macedonia in implementing reforms:

Once again, the European Commission has given Albania and North Macedonia good marks. Both countries have made tangible progress in key areas of reform, particularly as regards strengthening the judicial system and in the fight against organised crime and corruption.

We share the Commission’s positive assessment and are thus lobbying in EU circles for the swift opening of accession negotiations with both countries. Accession negotiations are the best instrument as regards providing Albania and North Macedonia with the best possible support and calling for further progress.

Without a sign of encouragement from the EU, we would jeopardise the great achievements of recent years. This would harm the interests of the EU and Germany. We need stable and effective democratic countries in the Western Balkans based on the rule of law.

Background information:

The European Commission presented its updates on reforms in Albania and North Macedonia today (2 March). Both reports confirm further progress in the key areas of reform. On this basis, the European Commission has reiterated its recommendation that accession negotiations be opened with both countries.

The update on North Macedonia confirms tangible progress in the field of judicial reform, the fight against organised crime and corruption, and reform of the intelligence services and public administration.

The update on Albania highlights progress in judicial reform, including the vetting process to check judges’ and public prosecutors’ qualifications and suitability. It also emphasises progress in the fight against organised crime and corruption, as well as in reducing unfounded asylum claims, the fight against drugs, and electoral reform.


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