As many as 13 European Union member states said they are calling for the opening of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia later this month. The foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Malta, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland and the Slovak Republic reiterate their continued support for the Western Balkans on their European path, the ministers said in a joint statement published on the website of Bulgaria's foreign ministry on Tuesday. “Ahead of the General Affairs Council this June, we appeal to all EU stake-holders to maintain and consolidate the positive momentum by opening the accession negotiations with the Republic of Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia. We are determined to live up to our responsibilities and react positively to the progress made by both countries,” the statement reads. The foreign ministers call upon the members of the Council to implement the relevant recommendations of the European Commission, ensure the credibility of the EU enlargement policy based on clear conditionality and the own merits principle, strengthen the EU’s credibility in international and institutional dimension as well as safeguard the EU’s leverage in the region. The statement also calls on EU member states to recognise the remarkable efforts and progress made by Albania and North Macedonia in adopting and implementing necessary reforms and in the case of the North Macedonia also acknowledge the historic importance of the agreements with the Greece and Bulgaria, which set an example of addressing open issues for the region and beyond.