Albania's Opportunities for the First Accession Talks with EU Seem Dim This Year

Albania's chances to kick off the first Intergovernmental Conference with the EU seem to be fading as Union's Ambassadors adopted the conclusions of the enlargement process following the publication of the report by the European Commission not mentioning any date.
Unlike the previous draft conclusions, the latest proposal of the German Presidency does no longer mention December as the month of the first Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) for Albania and North Macedonia.
The document that Euronews Albania has secured which was made public on Monday states that the first IGC will be held as soon as the negotiating framework is approved, and for Albania, after the two remaining conditions are met: the reconstitution of the Constitutional Court and the adoption of the Anti-Defamation Law.
“The Council looks forward to the holding of the first intergovernmental conference with North Macedonia and – provided that conditions set in the Council conclusions of March 2020 are fulfilled – with Albania as soon as possible after the approval of the negotiating frameworks by the Council,” reads the latest report.
Bulgaria continues to block North Macedonia’s request for including the implementation of the Friendship Treaty between the two countries in the negotiating framework.
Regarding Albania’s and North Macedonia’s first IGC, if the negotiating framework is not approved within December, everything will be postponed for the next EU Council, which will be held in March by the Portuguese EU presidency.
Meanwhile, another development in the recently published report is that Turkey has been completely removed from the report, which until now was a candidate country for enlargement. This seems to be a clear message from the EU, after the recent clashes and provocations in the Mediterranean with Greece and Cyprus.