Working breakfast: Dutch FM Blok underlines Importance of reforms

The Netherlands and France are still reserved in terms of whether Macedonia is genuinely ready to start EU membership negotiations. The two countries were greatly reserved also during in June 2018. However, after Monday’s working breakfast with EU FMs, it became clear that, finally, seriously fighting crime and corruption as well as genuine implementation of reforms will be of key importance when it comes to whether Macedonia will start the negotiations in three months. “It’s important for North Macedonia to continue to progress,” Dutch FM Stef Blok said. In his view, his country is strict and just when it comes to the issue of implementation of conditions. “We think it is of greatest importance for Macedonia to show clear results, especially in the fight against corruption and organised crime. We give credit for the solving of the name issue, but that doesn’t make the showing progress in the other areas less necessary” the Dutch FM added. His Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders, shares that stand. It’s a good thing for Macedonia that nearly all other countries are ready to support a start of negotiations, which was confirmed also by Hungarian FM Peter Szijjarto, who said an expert of theirs had already been sent to the Foreign Ministry, where they were working on getting the country ready for a successful start of talks. He also stated that the decision to start negotiations had to be made in June. “The European Commission will this year be publishing the Progress Reports on the countries from the region later, that is, after the European Parliament elections, at the end of May, but this mustn’t be a reason for the decision on negotiations at the Council in June not to be made,” he stated. Greek FM George Katrougalos is satisfied with Macedonia’s progress in implementing both the Prespa Agreement and internal reforms, the ANA-MPA news agency reported. FM Nikola Dimitrov briefed his EU counterparts about the ongoing reforms in Macedonia, telling them the country expected a green light in terms of a start in June.