Byrnes: North Macedonia Should Start Negotiations with EU

“The opening of accession negotiations with the European Union should begin and North Macedonia should be progressed in all aspects,” said US Ambassador to the country Kate Marie Byrnes. “North Macedonia’s entry into NATO was a big step and we are already seeing the results. That is why the next step is important for us, North Macedonia and the entire Western Balkans to move towards a single, secure Europe. That means integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. I think you are talking about real frustration, which I also hear, because the processes are not going fast enough,” Byrnes said in an interview with TV21. According to her, one thing that is emphasized at the moment is the need, as she says, to move those processes forward again, to accelerate the efforts and to see North Macedonia fully integrated. “We should move to the opening of negotiations with the European Union and make progress in all aspects to not only align with the EU institutions, but also to achieve the aspirations that the citizens have had for a long time. Obviously, the citizens of North Macedonia need a step forward, they do not need additional setbacks. The United States has been very clear from the beginning. We support North Macedonia’s entry into the EU,” said the US ambassador. She points out that although the United States is not a member of the EU, they still consider it a strategic interest for North Macedonia, the region, the EU and even the United States of America. In the context of the relations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia, she says that she is encouraged by the renewed diplomatic talks between the two countries. She noted that she had met with new Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski and the ministers involved in negotiations with neighbouring Bulgaria, and heard that they were committed to seizing the opportunity to try to resolve outstanding issues. “I had a chance to see the new Prime Minister and more of the ministers who are now involved in many aspects of the talks. I heard from them that they are committed to use this opportunity created by the new government in Sofia, to try to resolve the open issues and reach an agreement so that the process can continue and North Macedonia to hold the first Intergovernmental Conference and then to start the process of opening and closing chapters and meeting the criteria for EU membership,” said Ambassador Byrnes, adding that the negotiations are being followed very closely.