European Council President Tusk visits Skopje

On Tuesday, European Council President Donald Tusk paid a visit to Skopje, where he held a meeting with PM Zoran Zaev. Afterwards, they held a joint press-conference. According to Tusk, Macedonia has already done its share. In that regard, he called on the EU leaders to do the same. “Your country’s efforts over the past years have been remarkable. Together we have withstood one of the biggest migration crises that Europe has faced since the Second World War. It was for all of us a very difficult and demanding test of responsibility and effectiveness of action. Your country passed this test better than many EU Member States. You have also found a solution to the dramatic political crisis in your country. A solution based on democratic principles, decency and common sense. And through your Friendship Treaty with Bulgaria and the Prespa Agreement with Greece, you have become champions of political rationalism and political maturity in your region. These achievements are truly impressive, internationally recognised and should not be wasted by the EU. When the EU leaders met in June, three months ago, they committed to deliver a ‘clear and substantive’ decision – in October – on whether to open accession talks with you and your neighbour, Albania. I expressed my personal views clearly back in June: your country, within the last two years, has done everything that was expected of you for the EU to be able to launch the negotiations in line with the European Commission’s recommendation. That continues to be my strong conviction. Your country has done everything. That is also why I came to North Macedonia today. I wish to make it crystal clear: there is no doubt in Brussels about your political commitment to the rule of law and to fighting corruption. Of course, anybody can at anytime and anywhere do more, especially when it comes to implementation. But we know very well that your government is determined and consistent in this, also as regards the continuation of the work of the Special Prosecutor’s Office. Finally, allow me one metaphor. The EU accession process resembles a marathon more than a 100 metres sprint. And as a dedicated runner, I know what I am talking about. To reach the finish line, continued strength, endurance and focus is needed. And sometimes, I should also say, patience. I have no doubt that North Macedonia possesses more than enough of all these qualities. And everyone should appreciate it. Skopje is the best possible place where I would like to appeal to the leaders of the European Union: Now you do your share. Because North Macedonia has already done its share,” he said. Zaev expressed gratitude for the support during Tusk’s entire term. “Our joint wish is for us to crown, in the period until the next session of the European Council, this joint friendship with joint success in October. Jointly, because it is a joint interest of both North Macedonia and the EU. This is a period of greatest importance to achievement of our country’s strategic goals with long-term and substantive importance to our citizens,” he said, adding that after 10 recommendations from the EU and the achieved results, he was convinced that the country was ready to tackle challenges resulting from opening of negotiations. Within the frameworks of his stay in Skopje, Tusk also held a meeting with President Pendarovski that focused on the overall situation in the country and its aspirations for EU membership. The same day, paid a visit to Tirana. “I have always thought that the EU should open accession talks with both Albania and North Macedonia, in line with the positive recommendations from the Commission,” he said after his meeting with Albanian PM Edi Rama. His remarks after the meeting can be found at this link:!un84rP