WB Summit participants urge Decision on start of Negotiations

The EU should gain the courage and make a decision on a start of accession negotiations with Macedonia and Albania instead of political calculations and games being played. The Union should give the region a motive to continue the Euro-integrations. This was the message sent from the Western Balkans (WB) Summit entitled “Reinforcing the momentum for European integration”, held in Skopje on Tuesday, to the European leaders in the period leading up to the decision they will need to make in two weeks. A direct message about that was sent from ex-Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, according to whom the EU is still not ready for bold steps. However, he said that its only option was sending a positive signal to the region. The Greek PM added that the EU had to stop its national Introversion and continue to promote peace and stability in its neighbourhood. In that regard, he asked: “If it cannot promote peace and stability in its neighbourhood, how could it then have a crucial role at an international political level?” The ex-Greek PM also talked about the Prespa Agreement, describing the deal as a turning point not only for Skopje and Athens, but also for the region and for Europe. According to him, though there are issues that are still on hold, including the textbooks one, progress is expected in that direction, too. PM Zoran Zaev said Macedonia was committed to fulfilling the Agreement. In the context of the EU, he called on it to deliver on its promises. “We understand that some countries are against enlargement, but the first message is that we don’t expect to become a member right away, but rather just to start negotiations, to get a chance to quickly transform the own society. The second message is that if they don’t decide positively, they will then punish the best example in Europe,” he stated. Among the participants were also former EP President Martin Schulz, US Ambassador Kate Marie Byrnes, EP Vice-President Dimitrios Papadimoulis and MEP Guy Verhofstadt. The US Ambassador said in her speech that the Prespa Agreement “has set a standard for the rest of the region in how to resolve outstanding conflicts and move forward.”