Croatian leader regrets blocking of 2 states’ EU entry talks

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia’s prime minister says the European Union’s recent blocking of the start of membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania is a “regrettable mistake.”

Andrej Plenkovic was speaking on Wednesday before the opening in Zagreb of the two day congress of the European People’s Party, the largest center-right group in the European Parliament.

France led a group of EU countries calling for an overhaul of the procedures to admit new members before beginning negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

Plenkovic said that the existing procedures and the criteria for becoming a member are very detailed and tough. He added that “any European country has the right to seek membership.”

Croatia, which joined the EU in 2013, takes over the bloc's six-month rotating chairmanship at the beginning of January.