The European Commission will recommend that the European Union open membership negotiations with Albania and Macedonia, according to a first draft document by RadioFreeEurope and RadioLiberty.
This document is part of the enlargement European Union package for enlargement to be published on April 17 in Strasbourg and which sets out how far non-EU Western Balkan countries and Turkey are on their way to European Union membership. The European Commission has recommended negotiations with Macedonia every year since 2009, but the European Union member countries in this council, particularly Greece, have blocked talks due to the name issue, which tensed relations between Athens and Skopje, since Macedonia was declared independent in 1991. Athens has opposed its northern neighbor in using the name Macedonia, claiming it implies territorial claims in its northern province of the same name. Also, the draft document confirms that the commission for the first time recommends the opening of Albania’s accession negotiations in the EU, which became an official EU candidate country in 2014. The document emphasizes that public administration reform has been consolidated, with the goal of increasing its professionalism and depoliticisation. He also adds that further action has been taken to strengthen the independence, efficiency and accountability of legal institutions, especially by advancing in the implementation of a comprehensive justice reform.