“EU member states have reached a political agreement to start accession negotiations with Macedonia and Albania,” stated Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi. “Very pleased that EU member states today reached political agreement on opening of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia. I wholeheartedly congratulate both countries. This also sends a loud and clear message to the Western Balkans: your future is in EU,” Varhelyi wrote in his official Twitter account. “Such a decision is even more important now, not because it covers the disappointments of the October Summit decision, but because Europe and the world are in an unprecedented situation. The green light for the start of accession negotiations with Macedonia and Albania has shown that Europe can make decisions in times of crisis,” said European Parliament rapporteur for the country, Ilhan Kyuchyuk. He stressed that in the conditions of a coronavirus pandemic the EU must not forget the Western Balkan countries, and therefore, with a group of MEPs asked the European Commission to propose effective measures to assist states in the region to combat COVID-19. European Parliament President David Sassoli evaluated the European Ministers’ decision to start membership negotiations with Albania and Macedonia as welcomed. “Some good news in difficult times: EU affairs ministers gave their ok for accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia. Leaders should follow. EP has always supported the Western Balkan’s European future. We need strong bonds with our neighbors, now more than ever,” wrote Sassoli. “Great news for the Western Balkans and the EU. I am pleased that the member states have given the green light to start membership negotiations with Albania and Macedonia. I hope EU leaders approve it this week. The future of the Western Balkans is in the EU. Congratulations to Edi Rama and Oliver Spasovski,” wrote European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Twitter.