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EP president urges Balkan membership talks

The President of the European Parliament says he believes there is still hope for Balkan countries to join the European Union, and has urged that membership talks be opened soon with North Macedonia and Albania, news wire The Associated Press reported.

David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, at a press briefing in Brussels on July 10 (photo by Alexandros Michailidis/

Italian journalist and politician David Sassoli, who was elected to the Presidentʼs role on July 3, made his comments during a speech to North Macedonia’s lawmakers in Skopje on November 5.

Referring to the EUʼs failure to start membership negotiations with the two countries after some EU member states, led by France, blocked the process last month, Sassoli told local MPs, “we share your bitterness and disappointment.”

North Macedonia has been an EU candidate since 2005, but, despite 11 consecutive positive recommendations from the European Commission, the Balkan country is still waiting for entrance negotiations to start, AP notes.

Sassoli said “there is still hope” for membership talks to start, although he did describe the current situation as a “historic standstill.”