No agreement among European Union leaders on launching Albania, N. Macedonia membership talks

EPA-EFE  STEPHANIE LECOCQ

After the European Union membership negotiations failed to open for Albania and North Macedonia, Patozi said that President of France, Emmanuel Macron has made a favor to the government, but has damaged Albania with his determination not to clear the path of opening the negotiations.

This had been one of the key goals of Zaev's administration.

The Netherlands and Denmark are against pre-accession talks with Tirana.

He said he would put forward this position at Sunday's scheduled meeting between top political party leaders at the presidential office.

The European Commission had said North Macedonia and Albania have done enough to begin accession talks, and EU member states had pledged that a firm decision on the two countries' future would be taken "no later than October".

After Skopje agreed to end a dispute with Greece over the country's name - changing it to North Macedonia from Macedonia - the former Yugoslav republic had expected to be granted a date to start entry talks with the EU. While most European Union member states believe that the two countries - North Macedonia especially, which ended a 30-year dispute with Greece over the use of the name Macedonia - have made enough progress for talks to begin, French President Emmanuel Macron continues to steadfastly oppose the idea.

"The process of European integration will continue. We do it for ourselves and our children", he added. "I am disappointed and outraged", Zaev told reporters in Skopje.

Supporters of integrating new members have expressed concerns that delays over membership could aid attempts by Russian Federation or China to increase their influence in the region.

Before starting membership talks, potential new members of the bloc must demonstrate a range of reforms in areas such as economic policy, human rights, anti-corruption measures and the rule of law.

Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus also said that "a positive decision would have.firmly pushed back against malign external actors, who seek to undermine Western values and the Euro-Atlantic community".

Many EU leaders expressed disappointment at their failure to reach a unanimous decision, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Austrian Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein, Italian PM Giuseppe Conte, EUCO President Donald Tusk, President of the EC Jean-Claude Junker, and EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

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