EU Road and Skopje-Sofia Dispute Among Topics Discussed at EU-WB Discussion

It’s disappointing that though several years have passed, there are still discussions on a start of negotiations with Skopje and Tirana. That was Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi’s message in Sofia on Tuesday. At the EU-Western Balkans (WB) panel discussion, the Commissioner added that the war in Ukraine was an indicator that the Union didn’t have time to lies, while integration of the region was needed as soon as possible. As he announced, at the meetings with the Bulgarian representatives, he will try to unclog the process and for there to be results by June. “I cannot hide the fact that I am extremely disappointed that we’re still discussing this issue because we thought that we sorted it out two years ago, but now it’s back on the table again,” he stressed. Prior to the discussion, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska set the condition of her Ministry, a start of negotiations after Bulgarians become part of North Macedonia’s Constitution. However, she didn’t specify whether by “start”, she meant the holding of the first intergovernmental conference, which is considered an informal start, or the opening of the first chapter, which is a process that, in practice, takes place one year later. Asked about the Union’s credibility regarding the enlargement process, her counterpart from North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, stated that after more than two decades, the only novelty is that the citizens’ mood regarding membership was in a freefall. Varhelyi will visit Skopje on Wednesday.