Round Table on EU Accession of North Macedonia Held in Skopje

A round table organised by the Council of Ambassadors, titled “Accession of Western Balkans in EU: long, (in)complete story – Sustainability of Macedonian foreign policy course” was held on Thursday at the Club of MPs. The round table focused on the processes for integration of North Macedonia in the EU, and featured among the main speakers President Stevo Pendarovski, EU Ambassador David Geer and Deputy PM for European Affairs Bojan Maricic. “Economic and political integration should be parallel processes. We need to avoid situations in which we have economic growth, but the state is managed by autocrats. I see no reason whatsoever why should the EU be so much afraid of the integration of the Western Balkans. For many years now the EU has put the enlargement process on hold because its leaders are facing more inwards and try to secure the future of the Union. I am still glad we are receiving positive signals from the greatest motors of the EU, Germany and France, where the governments voice support to the EU enlargement process, and if we want the support of the people to grow, we all need to make efforts and create good results,” Pendarovski said. EU Ambassador David Geer said that the start of the accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania remains one of the top priorities for the EU, adding that main focus now is put on the consensus that should be reached between the member-states over the membership negotiations framework, as well as the resolution of the bilateral issues between Skopje and Sofia. “We welcome the fresh new energy for resuming the bilateral talks between Skopje and Sofia, but there is still more to be done. North Macedonia needs to continue with the processes for adaptation of its legislature to that of the EU, the Parliament should strengthen its role as forum for constructive political debate, while the opposition in both countries will need to continue with their constructive contributions,” Geer said. Deputy PM for European Affairs Maricic voiced hope that the French presidency over the EU will manage to change the dynamics for bringing the EU and the Western Balkans closer to each other.