The European Council of Ministers failed to reach an agreement on opening membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, Finnish Europe Minister Tytti Tuppurainen reported at a press conference in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

Tuppurainen confirmed that a majority of member states supported the prospect of accession talks, but failed to take a final decision. "Unfortunately, there were a few member states hesitant and one member state particularly against, so we were not able to reach the required unanimousity in order to make a decision," she added.

France, the Netherlands and Denmark reportedly blocked the decision, expressing concerns about reform in the Balkan countries.

However, Tuppurainen stressed the importance of the partnership between the EU28 and their Western Balkan partners, expressing hope for the positive resolution. "It's not our backyard, it's our neighbourhood and we have commitments".

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