Germany is the last in the EU to slow down the enlargement process of the Western Balkans countries towards the Union, said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
In an overview of the sixth-month German EU Presidency he told DW on Saturday that Germany found EU in a shocking time. Foreign Minister Maas praised the Balkan countries for the great progress in recent years.
Albania and North Macedonia could not start the first round of intergovernmental accession talks with EU within the German Presidency as it was expected.
"We are the last to restrain the EU on this issue. Basically, the blockade is about Bulgaria 's bilateral relationship with North Macedonia. As the German EU presidency, we tried with great intensity to mediate a solution. Unfortunately there was no success," he confessed.
Further on Maas said the countries of the Western Balkans have made great progress in recent years, especially North Macedonia. "People there see their future in the EU. Therefore they must be able to maintain faith in our promises, otherwise they will give up the EU."
According to him, the EU perspective is an important impetus for political and rule of law reforms, which are essential also for German interests.
"We are further committed to a solution in this context, even after our presidency," Maas said.
During the first half of 2021, Portugal will be taking over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In conjunction with Germany and Slovenia, Portugal is part of the Trio Presidency during the period from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2021, in the following order: from July until December 2020: Germany's presidency; from January until June 2021: Portugal's presidency; and from July until December 2021: Slovenia's presidency.
The three countries already worked together in 2007-2008, forming the Trio Presidency./argumentum.al