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Poland Criticizes EU For Postponing Accession Talks With Albania, North Macedonia

Polish President Andrzej Duda

Polish President Andrzej Duda has criticized the European Union for delaying accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia and urged the bloc to offer the Balkan states a clear path towards EU membership.

The Balkan states should not be asked to participate in a race "where they cannot see the finish line,” Duda said during a Western Balkans summit in the Polish city of Poznan on July 5.

Duda said both countries had undergone “difficult reforms” in order to improve their chances of joining the bloc.

Last month, EU member states postponed a decision on whether to open accession talks with the two nations until October, amid resistance from some bloc members, including France and the Netherlands.

Duda, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May, attended the second day of the gathering of foreign, interior, and economy ministers of the six Western Balkan states aspiring to join the European Union.

The four other Western Balkan countries seeking to join the EU are Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo.

Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron said he opposes further EU enlargement at a time when the bloc is already struggling to find agreement among its existing members.

Supporters of EU expansion argue it will better buttress the region against the growing influence of Russia and China.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters