- Title: Dutch PM says "concerned" about Albania, N. Macedonia EU progress
- Date: 2nd October 2019
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (OCTOBER 2, 2019) (REUTERS) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL AND DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE INTERPRETER SPEAKING RUTTE LISTENING TO MERKEL SECURITY BEHIND FLAGS (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE, SAYING (ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL TRANSLATION): "Regarding Albania and North Macedonia, we are still concerned, along with many other countries, a little less about North Macedonia and more about Albania. We are asking ourselves how much progress they have made in Albania. We will address this issue over the coming weeks with our European partners. But we really are concerned about the extent of progress. North Macedonia has achieved more than Albania and discussions will continue." REPORTER TYPING PHOTOGRAPHERS TAKING PICTURES MERKEL AND RUTTE SHAKING HANDS
- Embargoed: 16th October 2019 17:28
- Keywords: Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte Albania North Macedonia EU accession talks concerns Netherlands
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Netherlands
- Topics: European Union,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001AZEKN5L
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The Netherlands is "concerned" about the progress of Albania and North Macedonia in making reforms to start European Union accession talks, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday (October 2).
Asked whether his country would vote for the start of EU accession talks with the Balkan countries, Rutte said the rate of progress particularly of Albania was concerning, adding that North Macedonia had achieved more.
The German parliament last month voted in support of starting EU accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia under the condition that Chancellor Angela Merkel's government keep up pressure on Brussels to ensure reforms in both countries be implemented.
Albania and North Macedonia had hoped the bloc's Europe ministers would give the go-ahead at a meeting in Luxembourg last June, but opposition from the Dutch lower house of parliament resulted in EU member states deciding to delay the decision until October this year.
The EU's appetite for further enlargement has been steadily eroded by anti-immigration sentiment among voters and by increased criticism of the bloc's already complex, creaking decision-making processes.
Four other Western Balkan nations - Bosnia, Kosovo and the two front-runners Serbia and Montenegro - are also seeking EU membership.
(Production: Oliver Barth, Zoltan Berta, Michele Sani)
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