SKOPJE – Deputy Prime Minister of North Macedonia in charge of European Affairs Bujar Osmani stated today that the Permanent Representatives of EU Member States in Brussels have reached a consensus on unconditional opening of accession negotiations with his country. He expects the decision to be officially confirmed by the Council and the EU leaders next week.
“We expect this decision to be confirmed today, and then to be officially confirmed by the Ministers for Europe and Foreign Affairs on the General Affairs Council on 24 March, and then on the Summit of EU leaders on 26 March via video conference”, Osmani said, Plusinfo reports.
He added that this is extremely good news, not only because it is a consensus reached by all 27 member states on all the differences that have existed in the last 15 years and is truly a historic moment for the country.
“However, today and in the coming days it needs to be formally confirmed. This decision gives us another opportunity to join the European Solidarity Fund”, the Minister stressed.
On the other hand, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov recommended restraint on information about the start of North Macedonia’s accession negotiations with the EU, as, according to him, the work has not yet been completed.
“Yesterday night I had contacts with Paris. I spoke with (Angela) Merkel’s office in Berlin, with the chairman of the GAC, Zagreb, with the Netherlands. For the consensus, the work is not yet completed. There are positive signals, but the work is not over yet. There is still debate as to how to hold the Council, it is very difficult for any of the countries to be physically present on the 24 March, video link is being negotiated, hopefully it is the right thing to do”, underlined Dimitrov.
Committee of Permanent Representatives, a preparatory body of the Council of the EU, met yesterday to discuss, among others, issue of opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, but the conclusions of the meeting are still unavailable.
European Council meeting on 26-27 March was formally postponed, but the General Affairs Council meeting, with the decision on North Macedonia and Albania on the agenda, is still scheduled to take place.
European Commission presented its proposal for new enlargement methodology in February and updated reports on North Macedonia and Albania in early March. It once again recommended opening of accession negotiations with both countries.