Andrej Plenković and Donald Tusk meet in Zagreb ahead of the EPP congress (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL) Andrej Plenković and Donald Tusk meet in Zagreb ahead of the EPP congress (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL)

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday, ahead of a summit of the European People’s Party in the Croatian capital on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Failing to decide about North Macedonia and Albania is a great disappointment, however, I remain an optimist, Tusk told reporters adding that it was necessary to restore EU unity on enlargement.

The EU aspirations of countries in the Western Balkans were dealt a blow when France and the Netherlands blocked the opening of the talks with North Macedonia and Albania.

Plenković underscored that Croatia, which is about to undertake its first presidency in the European Union starting in January, wanted the hold lifted.

"These countries have Croatia's support and we will seek a solution over the next few months," said Plenković.

Six European Union countries have addressed a letter to outogoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker saying they are ready to work on improving the enlargement process on the understanding that it will lead to a consensus on opening accession talks with the two countries in March next year.

"We are therefore ready to engage constructively in an effort to improve this process. We will do so on the understanding that such an exercise be conducted in an effective and result-oriented fashion and that it enables the EU to reach consensus on opening accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in March 2020," the letter states, according to the Croatian news agency HINA, which has seen a copy of it.

Donald Tusk, whose term ends next month, is expected to be expected to be elected the leader of the EPP, main center-right bloc in the European Parliament, during the two-day gathering in Zagreb.