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Frustrated Balkans warn Ukraine over EU 'illusions'

Balkan leaders are frustrated about stalled bids to join the EU

23 June, 13:29
(ANSA-AFP) - BRUSSELS, JUN 23 - Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama on Thursday hailed Ukraine potentially joining his country as a candidate for European Union membership but warned against any unreasonable hopes for a speedy process. "North Macedonia is a candidate for 17 years if I have not lost count, Albania since eight, so welcome to Ukraine," Rama said as he arrived for an EU summit with western Balkan countries. "It's a good thing to give Ukraine the status. But I hope that Ukrainian people will not make many illusions." The Balkan leaders are deeply frustrated about their stalled bids to join the EU, with Bulgaria blocking the start of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia over a dispute with Skopje. "It's a disgrace that a NATO country, Bulgaria, kidnaps two other NATO countries, namely, Albania and North Macedonia, in the midst of hot war in Europe's backyard with 26 other countries sitting still in a scary show of impotence," Rama said. Rama, along with the leaders of North Macedonia and Serbia, had threatened to boycott the EU meeting in protest at the lack of progress -- but in the ended decided to show. (ANSA-AFP).

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