PM Zaev participates in Debate in Vienna and meets Hahn in Brussels

At a debate in Vienna on Wednesday, PM Zoran Zaev said the Government would be “dead” if EU leaders made a negative decision on a start of negotiations. In his view, such a decision will see the ruling structure lose the majority in Parliament that it asked to vote in favour of the name and Constitutional changes. In the attempts to convince the MPs to vote, they were promised the EU would deliver a date for negotiations. Therefore, Zaev believes that the EU will deliver in order to prevent room from being left for third sides to start a rule in the region and to prevent room for radical nationalism from being left. According to the PM, in the region, there are interests also of third sides. In that regard, he mentioned Russia, Turkey and China. In the PM’s view, they don’t offer the rule of law and democracy. The same day, Zaev also paid a visit to Brussels, where he, Deputy PM for European Affairs Bujar Osmani and FM Nikola Dimitrov met the EU’s Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, who said Macedonia deserved a date. The Commissioner added that the country and its citizens had implemented a lot of painful and difficult reforms that had to be acknowledged. “I’m convinced Europe’s leaders will look at the bigger picture and approve a start of accession negotiations. Otherwise, if after everything demonstrated by North Macedonia over the past several years, what kind of a message will we send to Serbia and to Kosovo for them to start a substantial dialogue for a resolution to the dispute. North Macedonia should get a clear European perspective and it should be a strong signal for the whole region that difficult decisions are rewarded,” Hahn stated. According to Hahn, Europe’s leaders should realise that if accession negotiations are approved, they will not start next week, but once both the Commission and its members agree on a beginning, even with the new methodology being suggested by France. Zaev once again pointed out that a date was needed without delay because citizens and institutions had done everything that had been asked. “The disappointment if we don’t get a date will be very big among both citizens and MPs that support the processes,” he pointed out.