Skopje: Decision on negotiation with EU in May, but new delay possible

NEWS 12.11.2019 18:20
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Source: Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

Stevo Pendarovski, North Macedonia’s President, said on Tuesday that his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron told him in Paris that a decision on Skopje’s negotiations with the European Union could be brought at the Summit in Zagreb in May, the Beta news agency reported.

However, he added, there were no guarantees the decision would be positive.

Following the meeting with Macron during the Paris Peace Forum, Pendarovski said the talks were “pretty open and dynamic,” and that “several issues have been cleared.”

He added Macron “insisted” to visit Skopje to explain to the people his views on the enlargement and promised to come “in the first six months of 2020.”

Macron was against setting a date for the beginning of the EU accession negotiations with Skopje and Tirana, prompting disappointment and anger among many EU officials and regional leaders. North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev even decided to push the country into an early vote to check his Government position and the nation’s mood after such frustration.

Pendarovski said that all options would be on the table in Zagreb, adding he hoped his country would improve in the meantime.

“All options are open. Macron said the delay was caused by the fact that the EU needed more time. He said he had always been for the “deepening” of the Union and “correcting the methodology,” that he knows the two could go parallel and that they would, and that it was crystal clear to him that we only ask for a date,” Pendarovski said.

He added Macron said that “his intention has never been to offer us an alternative to the EU full membership, but that he only wants to improve the accession process so that it wouldn’t produce bureaucratic successes and essential failures.”