European Union member-states have managed to reach compromise over the enlargement conclusions but the ambition to hold the first intergovernmental conferences with Skopje and Tirana has been left out.
Although the Slovenian Presidency had hoped to launch the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania by the end of the year, which was explicitly stated in the draft-conclusions, this timeline was dropped after today’s talks among European affairs ministers. Nevertheless, the compromise does not involve the wording “by the end of this year”.
The European Commission and the Council have expressed satisfaction from the compromise reached on enlargement, calling it “a masterpiece of European ability to make compromises in the spirit of loyal cooperation”, as EC Vice-President Vera Jourova put it.
Asked by MIA if Slovenia is disappointed from the failure to fulfill this ambition and is that a sign that the new Bulgarian government is not prepared for swift opening of the accession talks with North Macedonia, the Slovenian Presidency said it is satisfied from the compromise.
“What counts is Council conclusions, we never compare with what we started, certain wording has been there for more than two months, but since negotiations on such documents are a lengthy process, I would definitely assess this day is a success,” said Slovenian State Secretary for European Affairs Gasper Dovzan.