EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen hailed the “historic moment” at a joint news conference with Albanian Premier Edi Rama and North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski.
Balkan countries deeply frustrated about the deadlock in their bids to join the EU, welcome EU's decision to give Ukraine the status but warns Ukrainian people of illusions
The move comes despite Russia's concerns that NATO enlargement would have destabilising consequences for security in Europe.
Germany's statement came hours after Turkish President Erdogan refused to give green light to Sweden and Finland's NATO bids, saying the two countries failed to take a clear stance against terrorism.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and EU Neighbourhood Policy Minister Johannes Hahn will be holding talks with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on Thursday.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says it's up to the people to decide the future of accession talks.
The country has strengthened its economy since it joined the bloc in 2007, but around a quarter of its population still lives below the poverty line.
China's remarks come ahead of a visit to India this week by Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend a summit of the BRICS group of emerging nations.
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