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Turkey, Austria normalizing the ties


Turkey and Austria are trying to normalize relations after months of tension between Ankara and Vienna, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said. The two ministers discussed how they can start a new page on bilateral trade between the two countries. He said that Turkey has made efforts to improve relations with Europe and the rest of the world and has no hostility towards any nation. The ties between the two countries were tightened in 2016 when the Austrian authorities imposed restrictions on Turkish politicians who wanted to campaign in the country before a key referendum in Turkey. Kneissl said that he had also discussed Turkey’s offer to join the EU. “We know that Austria has a different position on the issue, which is not a secret, we have a lot of problems to discuss besides this” she said. Austria is one of Turkey’s main opponents of the country’s application for EU membership.

Hahn: Macedonia and Albania are on the right track towards EU


As the UK moves to exit the EU, the Western Balkans are pushing for the opening of the Union’s door. In spring, Brussels can give a green light for opening accession negotiations with Macedonia and Albania, the Austrian daily newspaper Kurier reads. The EU Commissioner for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn also told EU-Western Balkans Media Days that took place on Nov. 9 to 10 in Tirana that Macedonia and Albania are on the right track, MIA reports.EC President Jean-Claude Juncker pointed to 2025 as a possible term for admitting new EU members, but according to Hahn, no state has a guarantee that it will join by then. If a specific deadline is set, it can be a danger for the Western Balkans that will not be able to meet the deadline, to remain waiting and to lag behind. A positive moment, which was pointed out at Hahn’s meetings in Tirana, is the improved climate in the relations between Greece and Macedonia. This opens opportunities in the coming months for a possible end of the Greek blockade due to the long-standing name dispute with Macedonia. In regard to Albania, the problem with the thousands of Albanians still seeking asylum in the EU should be solved. It affects the image of the country and therefore has to change, but this cannot be done in a year or two.

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