24 May, 2022

European Council delay in opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia damages EU’s reputation

Renew Europe Group regrets the continued lack of unity in the European Council on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia, despite Skopje’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law and efforts to implement EU-related reforms.

Adopted last week, the annual progress report on North Macedonia reiterates the European Parliament’s strong support for the opening of accession talks and welcomes the democratic transition of North Macedonia and marked improvements in transparency, political dialogue and the reduction of political polarisation in the country.

ALDE Party acting co-President Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP (MRF, BG), European Parliament rapporteur on North Macedonia, also included in his report a comprehensive overview of pending reforms the country should adopt, on issues such as electoral reform, media, improved accountability of public institutions and engagement with civil society.

But overall, Kyuchyuk said that North Macedonia has proved to be a trusted partner for the EU and the delay in opening the accession negotiations is damaging the EU’s reputation as a reliable partner and serious geopolitical actor:

“No doubt, North Macedonia has demonstrated the best democratic transition record across the Western Balkan region. Recent changes in the international order and especially the European security architecture due to Russian aggression in Ukraine are alarming, but North Macedonia has shown once again that it is a trusted and reliable partner.

On the reform agenda, the country has delivered sustained results and demonstrated efforts to strengthen the rule of law, judicial independence and political dialogue. Therefore, the European Parliament will continue to call the long overdue accession negotiations to officially start as soon as possible.”

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