North Macedonia and Albania have made enormous efforts to secure European Union membership, future European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday, implictly contesting France's decision to veto further talks on their accession.
Leaders of major political parties in North Macedonia, including those in the ruling coalition, agreed to hold a snap parliamentary election on April 12 after the European Union failed to give the country a date to start talks on joining the bloc.
Senior European Union officials, worried by growing Chinese and Russian influence in the Balkans, accused France on Friday of making a "historic error" by refusing to let North Macedonia and Albania start talks on joining the EU.
Italy's Prime Minister said Rome would propose that the European Union restarts talks on enlarging the bloc to include Albania and North Macedonia in November, after the EU blocked the beginning of negotiations with the two Balkan countries.
French President Emmanuel Macron refused on Friday to let North Macedonia start talks on joining the European Union and led a group of leaders who blocked opening talks with Albania, despite concerns over Chinese and Russian influence in the Balkans.
A failure to agree to open EU membership negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania would be a "grave mistake," European Council President Donald Tusk believes, a senior EU official said on Thursday.
is a collection of country and region web sites providing local news and information to a worldwide audience.
Use InsideWorld’s headlines available on this site to access the latest stories. Or sign up today.