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Germany urges France to back EU membership for Albania, Macedonia

Germany called on France and the Netherlands on Tuesday to allow European Union membership negotiations with Albania and Macedonia to help “stabilize the Western Balkans.” Paris and The Hague have held out against a broad EU effort to open negotiations, Reuters reports. France said the bloc needs to reform its own institutions before accepting new members. Other states led by Berlin have pushed to bring the six Western Balkan countries into the EU fold to bolster the bloc’s influence in the region. “The German government is ready to support Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on their way towards the EU,” Germany’s EU minister Michael Roth said in Luxembourg. “We are ready to send green light. I would to encourage our friends in the Netherlands and in France to join us.”