Dimitrov: How can the region become more European if successes are discouraged?

Nikola Dimitrov; Photo: Tanjug / Tamas Kovacs / MTI via AP

BRUSSELS – “This week is definitely not just another ordinary Council of the EU for Macedonian citizens. This is our meeting with history, which is expected to bring about the long-awaited and, as has been confirmed by many, the well-deserved historic decision to start negotiations with the EU”, stated Foreign Minister of North Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov in a session of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday.

Council of the European Union is expected to release its conclusions on the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania later today, and the final decision will be made at the meeting of the European Council, which is taking place on 17 and 18 October.

According to Dimitrov, a positive decision will be a real signal at the right time to the entire Western Balkans and beyond, reaffirming the citizens’ belief in the European idea and the hope of progressive forces in the credibility of the promise of a European perspective of the countries of the Region, according to their individual merits and achievements.

He reminded of the Macedonian achievements in the past couple of years, including the Prespa Agreement with Greece and what he described as a still imperfect but decisive democratic U-turn.

“If you do not encourage success stories, how do you make the region more European?”, he asked.

It is good for the EU to see that it still acts as a lighthouse and that it still incentivizes brave political decisions and progress, Dimitrov argued.

“We deeply believe that European leaders in the coming days will realize the importance of the moment and make the right and visionary decision”, he stressed.

At the very end of the discussion, AFET Chair David McAllister, who moderated the session, emphasized that the start of negotiations is now well deserved.

“I call on the responsibility of all member states … that Northern Macedonia has done a good job”, McAllister stated.

In addition to appearing before AFET, Minister Dimitrov also had separate meetings with MEP Natalie Loazo and with the head of the Cabinet of the President of the European Council, Piotr Serafin. At the meetings, they exchanged views on expectations and prospects for a decision to start negotiations in the wake of the EU General Affairs Council and the European Council this week.