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Belgium: Blocking EU membership bids of North Macedonia and Albania 'historic error' - Juncker

2 261 18.10.2019 Инфо

M/S European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk arriving for press conference
M/S Juncker and Tusk entering press room
SOT, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council: "Last night, the leaders discussed enlargement. The overwhelming majority wanted to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. However, such a decision requires unanimity, and there was no unanimity yesterday. That is why the EU will revert to this issue before the Zagreb summit in May 2020. Let me be very clear: North Macedonia and Albania are not to blame for this. And the Commission's reports are also clear that both these countries did what they were asked to do. And the adoption of the Prespa agreement was a truly extraordinary achievement. So both countries have the right to start EU negotiations as of today. They are ready. And unfortunately, a few member states are not ready yet. This is why we didn't manage to reach a positive decision."
M/S Press conference *CUTAWAY*
SOT, Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President (French): "Last night it wasn't a question of whether North Macedonia and Albania were ready to join the European Union. The issue yesterday was whether or not they were candidates who would have a level which would allow us to start negotiations. I think this was a big mistake. A lot of countries thought they weren't ready even to start negotiations. I thought it was a historic error."
M/S Journalists *CUTAWAY*
SOT, Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President: "I think that Mrs [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel is right when she says the UK will be come a third country. I don't like this perspective but that's the choice of the British people." *MULTIPLE SHOTS AT SOURCE*
M/S Journalists *CUTAWAY*
SOT, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council: "So called cease fire, this is not what we expected. In fact, it's not a cease fire; it's a demand of capitulation of the Kurds. And I think that we have to be very consistent here, and we have to reiterate our call for Turkey to put a permanent end to its military action immediately, and to withdrawal its forces and to respect international humanitarian law. And this is, for sure, not the result of [US] Vice-President Pence and [Turkish] President Erdogan agreement."
W/S Juncker and Tusk leaving press conference
SCRIPT
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk condemned EU leaders for deciding not to begin accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia, while speaking at a press conference in Brussels on Friday.
"I think this was a big mistake. A lot of countries thought they weren't ready even to start negotiations. I thought it was a historic error," said Juncker.
"Both countries have the right to start EU negotiations as of today. They are ready. And unfortunately, a few member states are not ready yet," added Tusk.
On Thursday, the European Council of Ministers failed to reach an agreement on opening membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. A majority of member states supported the prospect of accession talks, but unanimity was not reached. France, the Netherlands and Denmark reportedly blocked the decision, expressing concerns about reform in the Balkan countries.
Commenting on Brexit, Juncker said to agree with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the UK may become a third country. "I don't like this perspective but that's the choice of the British people," he added.
Tusk criticised the cease-fire deal between the US and Turkey saying that the goal is "to put a permanent end to its military action immediately and to withdrawal its forces and to respect international humanitarian law. And this is, for sure, not the result of [US] Vice-President Pence and [Turkish] President Erdogan agreement."