Alexis Tsipras

Greece’s former Prime Minister, SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday called on Europe to commence accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania.

Tsipras made the call during his address to French Senate on European enlargement, saying that the European Council meeting in March needs to give the go-ahead to the start EU membership talks, whilst clarifying that Albania needed to fulfil its obligations towards the Greek ethnic minority first.

The former Greek PM who was responsible for negotiating the controversial Prespes agreement with North Macedonia, said that the EU cannot acquire a dynamic international geopolitical role if it does not actively support Agreement between Greece and North Macedonia.

As he pointed out, the suspension of EU accession talks in the Balkans in 2014 had led to loss of stability in the region and the empowerment of third parties working against EU interests. Tsipras also warned that additional instability in the region would contribute to higher migration flows from the western Balkans to Europe.

The SYRIZA leader emphasised that the EU must demonstrate it supports leaders and peoples of the western Balkans who are prepared to make courageous decisions and undertake reforms, otherwise it will be justifiying nationalist and authoritarian forces.