The negotiating framework for Albania and Northern Macedonia could not be approved by EU European Affairs Ministers.

But the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luigi Di Maio, expressed optimism for the convening of the first intergovernmental conference, underlining that Italy will insist a lot on a date as soon as possible.

“Italy has always been close to Albania on the road to EU integration and strongly supports the path of courageous domestic reforms undertaken by Tirana in this regard. We must work to convene the first intergovernmental conference on Albania and Northern Macedonia. Despite the halt this week, we remain determined to achieve our goals within the EU to start the conference.”

Di Maio made the statements during the joint press conference with Prime Minister Rama in Tirana.

The two signed today the agreement for the Establishment of the Albania-Italy Joint Standing Committee.

Regarding the negotiations, the problem is the Bulgarian veto on Skopje. Bulgaria is seeking the inclusion of a chapter on resolving issues related to history and language, which is strongly opposed by Skopje.

For Albania, according to the European Commission, the conditions that must be met are the functioning of the Constitutional Court and the reflection of the recommendations of the Venice Commission on media law, known as anti-defamation packages.