Zoran Zaev, North Macedonia’s Prime Minister, said in New York on Monday that Skopje was ready to start the accession talks with Brussels without further delay, the Beta news agency reported.
According to his Government statement, Zaev said that at the dinner with the Western Balkans’ heads of states and premiers at the UN New York mission, hosted by the European Union outgoing Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini.
North Macedonia’s Prime Minister was quoted as saying the period ahead of the Council of Europe (CoE) decision was crucial for Skopje and that “all efforts focus on maintaining a positive spirit of the EU member states in supporting my country to open the negotiations with the EU.”
“After getting a candidate country status in 2005, and a series of positive recommendations by the European Commission (EC) in 2018 and 2019, and because of the recognised results, North Macedonia is ready to start the accession negotiations with the EU without further delay,” Zaev said.
CoE was expected to set a date for the start of EU talks with North Macedonia and Albania in June, but it was postponed until the autumn, and the latest possible date now is set for mid-October.
Skopje was promised the negotiations following its deal with Athens to change the name into North Macedonia in June (until then it was officially called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), ending the 27-year-long name dispute with Greece.
Athens claimed the name Macedonia reflected Skopje’s territorial claim to the Greek Macedonia province and blocked the country from any Euro-Atlantic integrations.