Macedonia and Albania Move Closer to EU Membership
Why is the European Union offering membership to Albania and Macedonia now? These two small South European nations may become members of the EU in less than a decade if they make sufficient progress on civil reforms, the EU General Affairs Council decided on June 26. This decision is a “cautious green light” from EU member nations, some of which previously opposed the move. If the two Balkan countries make the required changes, then the EU may begin membership talks with them in June 2019, with the goal of Albania and Macedonia joining the bloc by 2025.
Albania and Macedonia are both located on the Balkan Peninsula, a highly strategic area. The EU is aware of this region’s importance. Many Balkan countries border the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas and provide access to important ports and maritime trade routes. However, this area has also faced a lot of political upheaval.
Macedonia was formerly part of the nation of Yugoslavia, which split into seven countries in the 1990s. Albania borders Macedonia on the west and is often grouped with the former Yugoslav nations.
After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Germany began regaining the prominence it had in Europe prior to World War ii. However, Germany feared that if Russia again rose to power, it would immediately regain influence in Yugoslavia, which had been a socialist state with ties to the Soviets. That would give Russia a foothold in Europe, something Germany and other European nations desperately wanted to prevent.
Germany and the Vatican played an instrumental role in breaking up Yugoslavia into several smaller states. When Croatia and Slovenia declared themselves to be sovereign states in 1991, Germany defied the international community and recognized them, knowing it would lead to war. The rest of the world eventually followed suit. After Germany established its influence in these two countries, Europe worked to gain influence over the rest of Yugoslavia.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry summarizes this history in Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans:
Back in 2002, the German-dominated EU gained control of the first colonies of its new empire! That was the year nato began withdrawing troops from the Balkan Peninsula. With Croatia and Slovenia firmly attached to the EU, the Union began the process of imposing its version of “security” on other nations that once formed the old Republic of Yugoslavia. The first EU police mission under the European Security and Defense policy began in Bosnia in January 2003, taking over from the United Nations International Police Task Force. This ended the direct involvement of the United Nations, nato and the United States in Bosnia and set the pattern for the ultimate takeover of the entire Balkan Peninsula by this European force. Slovenia became an EU member in 2004, and Croatia eventually became a member of the EU in July 2013.
Concerning the other old Yugoslav countries, Serbia and Montenegro virtually became vassal states of the EU, almost totally dependent on the Union for financing reconstruction and development following the Yugoslav wars. Montenegro began accession negotiations with the EU in 2012, and Serbia began accession negotiations in January 2014.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia, which saw the secession of Kosovo as a violation of Serbia’s sovereignty, came under pressure from Germany to recognize Kosovo’s independence in return for membership in the EU. High-level ascension talks between the EU and Bosnia-Herzegovina started in 2012. Albania came close to EU candidate status in 2012. Macedonia also is in the bag for Europe, with the European Commission in 2009 recommending the opening of EU accession negotiations.
The EU gave Macedonia candidate status in 2005; Albania, in 2014. However, membership talks have stalled since then. Many EU nations oppose adding new member nations that the EU would have to support economically.
So why is Europe, in the midst of ongoing financial and other crises, offering EU membership now? The reason is simple: To counteract influences from the east. When Europe steps back from Balkan nations, other powers are happy to fill the void. Russia and Turkey have been “working hard to undermine the EU’s and nato’s strategic interests in the Balkans,” one source reported on June 2. Russia has courted Serbia’s favor through investment and political influence.
China has also been moving into the area with extensive investments. The Financial Times reported on July 1, “China has lavished investment pledges on Balkan states as it prepares for a summit with 16 EU countries and aspiring members, stoking fears in Brussels and influential national capitals of an effort to divide the bloc.” China has invested a lot into two nations in particular: Albania and Macedonia. It has also invested in Montenegro and Serbia, which are also working to join the EU.
Mr. Flurry writes in Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans: “Look at any map and you can see the strategic value [of the Balkans]. However, it seems only Germany fully realizes the significance of these areas. The Germans are willing to fight the whole world to gain control of them.” Now that other powers are showing interest, Germany is seeing the need to pull these Balkan states closer to the EU.
A few weeks ago, Macedonia finally resolved its name dispute with Greece. The name change (from Macedonia to Northern Macedonia) still has to be passed by a nationwide referendum. However, the resolution marks an important step in Macedonia’s relations with Greece, an EU member. Now Europe is holding out EU membership as a real possibility for Macedonia and Albania, in the hope that it will keep them from turning East.
On Jan. 10, 2003, EUobserver.com wrote: “EU Commission [EC] President Romano Prodi promised today in Athens that all Balkan countries ‘can become members of the EU one day.’ … [E]ach of them would follow their own course and be judged on their own merits. ‘But in the long run, Balkans belong strictly to the EU,’ he said.”
The “Balkans belong strictly to the EU.” Not to Russia, China or anyone else. That is exactly what the Trumpet has been saying for decades.
Mr. Flurry continues in his booklet:
Germany and the Vatican had to get control of the Balkan states to develop the eastern leg, or foot, of the Holy Roman Empire. This too was prophesied.
Notice what Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in June 1956: “Perhaps even this coming military-political leader does not yet know how many, or precisely which, European nations will join in this United Nazi Fascist Europe. But you and I can know the number—for God Almighty wrote it down for us 1,900 years ago in Revelation 17! There will be 10 dictatorships, exerting iron rule over 10 European nations. These 10 will give all their military power to the central over-all leader—pictured under the prophetic symbol, ‘the beast.’ …
“The strong indication of these prophecies, then, is that some of the Balkan nations are going to tear away from behind the Iron Curtain.”
Remember, that was written in 1956—over 50 years ago! …
These prophecies have been and are being fulfilled before our eyes.
Macedonia and Albania still have a lot to do before they can officially become part of the EU. But it is significant that the process is finally beginning. Europe is extending its influence over the Balkans—just as Mr. Armstrong predicted, based on the Bible.
Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans explains all of this history and prophecy in greater detail. If you are interested in understanding more about this subject, this book is worth reading.