European Western Balkans

MEPs: North Macedonia’s EU formal talks must start now 

Ilhan Kyuchyuk; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – European Parliament’s standing rapporteur for North Macedonia Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Chair of Parliament’s delegation to the EU-North Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee Andreas Schieder warn that further delays to accession discussions with North Macedonia will seriously harm the reconciliation gains and progress in the region, it was stated in a press release.

Following the EU Council’s decision to postpone EU accession talks with North Macedonia, MEPs Ilhan Kyuchyuk (Renew) and Andreas Schieder (S&D) said that the failure of European Affairs ministers to approve the negotiating framework of North Macedonia, thus delaying the EU accession talks, puts the Union’s credibility in the Western Balkans at risk.

“Prioritizing unilateral interests over a joint European solution and the lack of political will to overcome differences sends the wrong message to our (Western Balkan) partners. Now is the time to work through this impasse towards the joint future”, reads the press release.

Kyuchyuk and Schieder added that due to a failure to find a compromise between Bulgaria and North Macedonia, the General Council’s unanimity was broken by Bulgaria’s veto, therefore further delays to accession talks, despite the candidate country’s efforts in EU approximation, can seriously harm the reconciliation gains in the region.

“We acknowledge progress made by Skopje in fundamental democratic and economic reforms and call upon all parties to continue a constructive dialogue based on good neighbourly relations and the implementation of the Friendship Treaty, in line with a predictable, objective, and merit-based reformed EU accession process. Holding the first official intergovernmental conference by the end of 2020 would be a clear result of such a dialogue”, MEPs concluded.

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