Hahn visits Skopje to launch screening process

Johannes Hahn and Zoran Zaev; Photo: Government of Macedonia

SKOPJE – European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn visited Skopje today to mark the beginning of pre-negotiations screening process. Macedonia is scheduled to open first chapters in June 2019, following the decision of the Council of the European Union.

Hahn was firstly present at the meeting of the country’s Government, on which Dr Bujar Osmani, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European Affairs, was appointed as the Chief Political Negotiator and Head of the Delegation for Negotiations with the European Union. Commissioner congratulated the country on recent achievements, stating that “historic agreement with Greece is an example for the region and EU as a whole”.

The meeting was followed by a joined press conference with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. Mr Hahn stressed that the door of the European Union is wide open now, but it is up to people of Macedonia to seize the opportunity. He therefore urged them, especially the youth, to take part in the upcoming referendum, and all political parties to place the country’s Euro-Atlantic perspectives over special interests.

Commissioner Hahn also had a meeting with the Speaker of the Sobranie (national parliament), Talat Xhaferi, during which he welcomed the progress achieved, reiterated the strong support of the international community on Macedonia’s road to Euro-Atlantic integration and stressed the key role of the Parliament in the process of harmonization of legislation. According to Meta, Hahn then gave a speech in front of National Council for European Integration.

Finally, Mr Hahn met with the members of the main opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE. Speaking with its leader Hristian Mickoski and former Foreign Minister Nikola Popovski, he reminded about the critical but constructive role opposition should play. He stressed the need for national consensus on Macedonia’s EU path and expressed hope for constructive contribution from all sides.