European Western Balkans

North Macedonia

EWB Archives

North Macedonia

Macedonia is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. It declared independence in 1991.

The capital and the largest city, Skopje, is home to roughly a quarter of the nation’s 2.06 million inhabitants. The majority of the residents are ethnic Macedonians. On 12th of June 2018 an agreement was reached between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, known as ‘Prespa agreement’, under which the country would be renamed the Republic of North Macedonia.

Macedonia was accepted into membership of the UN in 1993 under the provisional name the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It is a member of the Council of Europe.

Macedonia – along with other Western Balkans countries – was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership during the Thessaloniki European Council summit in 2003.  Its Stabilisation and Association Agreement is in force since 2004, and it is the first in the region. It applied for the EU membership in March 2004 and the Council decided to grant the country candidate status in December 2005, based on the Commission’s favourable opinion. Since October 2009, the Commission has recommended opening of the accession negotiations with the country, until 2015 when it made this conditional on continued implementation of the Pržino agreement and substantial progress in the implementation of the “Urgent Reform Priorities”.

Important dates

24 January 2000 – The European Commission adopts directives regarding cooperation and regarding the official start of negotiations for potential membership

March 2000 – Opening of the EU Delegation in Skopje and appointment of the first Chief of the Delegation

5 April 2000 – Start of 1st round of negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA)

9 April 2001 – SAA and Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade Issues signed

1 April 2004 – SAA enters into force following the ratifications by all the EU Member States

22 April 2004 – North Macedonia submitted its application for EU membership

3 June 2004 – 1st meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Committee held in Skopje

14 September 2004 – 1st meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council in Brussels

17 December 2005 – The European Council in Brussels approves the candidate status

9 November 2006 – The European Commission decides to start visa facilitation negotiations with the Republic

29 March 2012 – European Commission launches a High-Level Accession Dialogue with Skopje

1 July 2015 – Pržino agreement, facilitated by Commissioner Johannes Hahn and three Members of the European Parliament, reached between the four main political leaders

12 June 2018 – An agreement was reached between Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev, known as Prespa agreement, under which the country would be renamed the „Republic of North Macedonia“. As a part of this deal, Greece explicitly withdrew its previous opposition, allowing the EU to approve on 27 June 2018 the start of accession talks with the future Republic of North Macedonia.

18 October 2019 – European Council decides not to open negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania for the 3rd time.

25-26 March 2020 – Council of the European Union and European Council support opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. Commission is tasked with drafting the negotiating framework.

27 March 2020 – North Macedonia officially becomes the 30th member of NATO.

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