Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European Affairs Nikola Dimitrov started his working visit to the Republic of Austria Thursday morning with a meeting with the Federal Minister for the EU and Constitution, Karoline Edtstadler. The interlocutors stressed the need to effect last year’s unconditional decision of the EU General Affairs Council (GAC) to start accession negotiations. “North Macedonia must immediately receive the long-awaited and deserved validation by approving the negotiating framework and holding an intergovernmental conference. Decisive steps are needed to restore the strength of the European vision in the region. Moving the European integration process will mean increased confidence, influence and predictability of the European perspective in accordance with the Austrian position that there is no other alternative to the enlargement process with the Western Balkans, and will bring positive dynamics and new energy necessary to enhance the EU image as a strategic actor,” pointed out Minister Dimitrov. Minister Edtstadler pointed out that the country is textbook candidate and has made great sacrifices in order to achieve real steps towards Europe, reminding that under the German presidency huge efforts were made to resolve the Bulgarian blockade, steps which failed.