Today at a meeting with the Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker praised the reform efforts the country was making, and said that if progress was continued, the Commission could recommend accession negotiations to be opened in the next few months.
This meeting comes after the European Commission presented its strategy for the Western Balkans, giving Serbia and Montenegro an indicative date of 2025 for EU accession, with other countries being intended to make significant progress towards the EU by then.
Accession negotiations could be opened in June 2018
The Prime Minister said that a recommendation to start accession negotiations could be an “additional encouragement for our country”, and that he was “convinced” that the Council would open accession negotiations in June 2018.
President Juncker praised the reform progress so far, saying that if reforms were continued “you will enable the Commission to send to the Council an invitation to open up negotiations, but we’re not there yet.”
Prime Minister Zaev reassured Juncker that his government was committed to ending the name dispute with Greece that has blocked its progress towards the EU and NATO so far, and highlighted the current “historic” opportunity to resolve the dispute, which had gone on for far too long in his view.
FYROM respects EU values
President Juncker highlighted that FYROM properly understood that the EU was a community of values, and more than just economic interests, and that the mission of reconciling Europe, as he said happened during the previous enlargements to the east, must be continued.
Prime Minister Zaev explained that his country was fully committed to the values of the EU, and was perhaps more committed to them than some other countries.