Brussels, 23 June 2022
We are not where we should be with the Western Balkans.
Today, we should be launching negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, and I cannot hide my disappointment, certainly. My disappointment, I suppose, is the disappointment of many people. We should be launching this. But there is still hope – I do not know what the Bulgarian parliament can do in the next hours. But things are not going well, and we should try to mend it.
This shows, once again, that unanimity is a big problem to take decisions. So, we have to think [about] how we take decisions in the European Union, because we cannot continue with a single country blocking for months and months.
I have some good news to give. We have gotten an agreement in the Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia in order to put into practice the energy side of the problem, which is an important step forward. We will continue working on the Dialogue, and maybe by the end of the month, we will be able to have a high-level meeting to [make] another step.
But for the time being, we have to work more to integrate better and quicker the Western Balkans people in our work. I will do that in the Foreign Affairs Council, inviting them to come and participate in our discussions. In other sectoral policies they can do the same thing.
We have to continue working and keeping the flame of the European perspective alive. But, today, is not a good day.
Q. About the European perspective and the future of Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova with you [the European Union]. From your perspective, decisions will be taken today. What is your main message for Georgia?
That this is a step forward for them. They should not look at that in a negative way. Now they have a clear path. Now they have things to be done, in a schedule, so it is an important step forward. So, continue working on that, you are on a good track.
Q. Why did you allow Bulgaria to hold up the negotiating process with North Macedonia, by putting everything they demanded in the negotiating [inaudible]?
As I said, today we should be launching the negotiation process and I am very much disappointed by the way that things have been done and [the fact that] a single country [is] blocking the whole process. We have to review our decision on working methods.
Q. Do I understand correctly that, if Georgia meets the criteria, the candidate status will be granted?
Exactly, when these criteria will be met, then, the candidate status will be granted automatically.
Link to the video: https://newsroom.consilium.europa.eu/permalink/236962
Source – EEAS