Pendarovski: No rationale for delaying a date for North Macedonia

Stevo Pendarovski; Photo: Tanjug / AP / Dragan Perkovski

SKOPJE – “To be honest, there is no rationale for not getting a date (for the start of accession negotiations)”, said the new President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski in an interview for Deutsche Welle.

A day before his first visit to Brussels as President, where he will meet with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Pendarovski reminded that no serious political factor in the EU says that North Macedonia will not receive a date for the start of negotiations.

“However, the biggest challenge in the whole process is the waiting time, that is, the patience factor”, he said.

Last week, German parliament failed to discuss European Commission’s Reports on North Macedonia and Albania. Some other EU members, including the Netherlands and France, are seen as the main opponents of opening of negotiations at the moment.

“The question is whether the fact that we have done our part of the work, and that a possible delay would be owing to issues and processes that are beyond our reach, would be fully appreciated in our polarized inner-political environment”, says Pendarovski.

In his opinion, the possible delay on the part of the EU would reduce its credibility in the region and make the reforms in North Macedonia more complicated. Greek elections on 7 July could result in the win for the New Democracy which, although publicly committed to the Prespa Agreement, could have a different perception of the process.

“The nuances in foreign policy sometimes make a difference”, emphasises Pendarovski.

As for the issue of joint opening of accession talks by North Macedonia and Albania, Pendarovski reiterated the high level of relations enjoyed by the two countries and reminded that all open issues have been resolved.

However, he also pointed at the fact that Albania entered NATO in 2009 without (then) Macedonia, and that it would have been unfair if Tirana had to wait for the resolution of dispute between Skopje and Athens.

“I consider that the approach of countries to be viewed as part of a broader strategic picture is generally good, but at the same time, the specifics and peculiarities of each country must be monitored separately”, concluded Pendarovski, using the occasion to once again highlight progress of North Macedonia in the past two years.