Michel: Opening negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, a priority for the European Council

25/01/2020 20:55

President of the European Council Charles Michel said here on Friday that the future of North Macedonia is in the European Union (EU) and that he will develop strategy for opening the accession negotiations process.

“The message I want to send with this visit is that there is great interest for including the EU in the processes, that the future of North Macedonia is European and that we have to continue with the dialogue in order to reach decision,” Michel said at a joint press conference after meeting President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski.

Spasovski told Michel Skopje expected a new methodology for the EU enlargement to confirm the readiness to start the accession negotiations with Skopje, the statement said.

The Prime Minister added that ‘the timing is crucial for North Macedonia to avoid endangering the reforms and the Prespa deal with Greece on the country’s new name.

Michel, who is due to meet President Stevo Pendarovski later on Friday, was also briefed by the Government about the early general vote in North Macedonia scheduled for April 12.

France led a small group of EU member states who blocked the decision on setting a date for the start of the negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania last October, arguing that the bloc should first reconsider the accession process in general.

The majority of other EU members criticised Paris and have been trying to encourage Skopje and Tirana to stay on the European path ever since.

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