The European Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn explained that he expects the decision to open accession negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia to be made before summer.

Speaking to “Radio Free Europe”, he underlined that judicial reform in Albania and the achievement of the Prespa agreement for North Macedonia must be rewarded.

“I think, especially when it comes to North Macedonia, that we must recognize the great progress this country has made in overcoming bilateral conflicts, which is a prerequisite for future European Union membership.

“Also, judicial reform in Albania is something that should be rewarded. So, in this regard, I think that this will be looked upon positively by our member states,” said Hahn.

Asked about the potential for suspension of visa liberalization for Albanians, Commissioner Hahn stated that there were no such initiatives being discussed by the member states.

However, he did call on the Albanian authorities to cooperate with European Union countries and to keep the public regularly reminded that asylum applications will no longer be approved for Albanian citizens.

“It's something I've been discussing constantly with my partners in Albania and also in other countries.

“This should be fully addressed by the Albanian authorities, which means they should communicate.

“They should inform the people that all these initiatives are without any opportunity to be positively confirmed by the EU countries.

“But, I have no indication that there are any initiatives by the member states to suspend, for example, visa liberalization with Albania,” explained Hahn.

Furthermore, Hahn stated that the European Commission is trying to obtain the green light from the European Council for the opening of accession negotiations with Albania.