AP NEWS

Greece backs EU bids by neighboring N. Macedonia, Albania

November 14, 2019 GMT
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Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during a financial forum in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Greece, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Mitsotakis and North Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev discussed the Prespes name deal signed with Greece's previous government as well as North Macedonia's stalled accession talks with the European Union. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
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Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during a financial forum in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Greece, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Mitsotakis and North Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev discussed the Prespes name deal signed with Greece's previous government as well as North Macedonia's stalled accession talks with the European Union. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Greece’s prime minister has offered its backing for neighboring North Macedonia and Albania in their frustrated efforts to start membership talks with the European Union.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis says “despite reservations” the bloc is “keeping its doors open” for the two countries.

In an embarrassing climb-down last month, the EU failed to agree on starting membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania after countries led by France disagreed.

Mitsotakis says Greece wants both its neighbors in the EU and voiced confidence their bids will succeed “at some point.”

He spoke at an economic forum Thursday in the northern city of Thessaloniki, also attended by North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Zaev told reporters Mitsotakis has promised to talk to other EU leaders, including France’s President Emmanuel Macron, about North Macedonia’s bid.