After years of opposition, the Netherlands has backed Albania’s and Northern Macedonia’s EU bids.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte supported the candidacies of these two Balkan countries, although since 2018 he has refused to support Albania and Northern Macedonia on their European Union path, reports Euractive.
Albania officially began its European path in 2014
Rutte’s cabinet and coalition parties are also in favor of the two Balkan countries joining the European Union, and Albania and Northern Macedonia will soon begin negotiations on joining the bloc.
It should be reminded that Northern Macedonia received the status of a candidate for joining the EU in 2005, while Albania officially started its European path in 2014.
In May, the European Parliament called on the European Council to start negotiations in the light of the “geostrategic context of the war in Ukraine“.
Almost all EU countries are in favor
This is a sharp departure from Rute’s 2018 stance when he said the two countries’ EU membership would “weaken the entire EU”. At the time, the prime minister was particularly opposed to corruption and low press freedom in the Balkans. A year later, the Netherlands joined France and Denmark in blocking negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia.
This time, however, almost all EU countries are in favor, and Rute is traveling to Europe to gather support for the start of accession negotiations. Only Bulgaria still disagrees.