The U.S. Department of State reacted on Saturday to the European Council’s decision not to open the European Union (EU) membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia. “We are disappointed the European Council did not recognize each country’s very strong reform efforts by agreeing to open accession negotiations at this time. A positive decision would have reaffirmed the credibility of their EU path and firmly pushed back against malign external actors, who seek to undermine Western values and the Euro-Atlantic community. We recognize that the European Council did not say “no” to either Albania or North Macedonia, nor did the EU establish new conditions for the opening of accession negotiations. We hope that the European Council will reach a consensus on a positive decision for both countries well in advance of the EU-Western Balkans Summit next May,” the statement shared on the U.S. Embassy’s Facebook page.