World Bulletin / News Desk
"Today, the commission has called on the council to launch accession negotiations with Albania and Macedonia," Federica Mogherini told a press conference with EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn in Strasbourg.
Mogherini also said that efforts are also being made on Bosnia and Herzegovina's application and to normalize relations between Belgrade and Kosovo.
Starting late Tuesday, Mogherini is due to embark on a four-nation Balkan tour.
"The Western Balkans are Europe, as we have said many times, and will remain a part of our strong and united Europe in the future. It is a matter of sharing interests and responsibilities," said Mogherini.
Serbia and Montenegro from the Western Balkans are negotiating for EU membership. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo are seeking membership candidacy.
For his part, Hahn said that after a commission recommendation, member countries’ approval is essential for the start of membership negotiations.
"The majority of people in Austria are against it," said Hahn, an Austrian politician.
The EU started membership negotiations with Serbia in 2014 and Montenegro in 2012. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that these two countries could be admitted to the EU by 2025.
Ankara has complained that countries less ready for EU membership than Turkey have been given dates for possible membership, while such dates have been denied for Turkey.
Speaking this morning at the EP General Assembly, French President Emmanuel Macron signalled that the EU is not ready for enlargement in the Balkans.