Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations expects in the first half of 2018 a political solution with Greece to be sought for Macedonia to open EU accession negotiations.
We now have a window of opportunity until the middle of next year before the election campaign for the polling begins in Greece. And there is growing need that a political solution must be sought, Hahn said in the interview with the Austrian daily Wiener Zeitung.
He underlined that in this direction the atmosphere between the Skopje and Athens has now greatly improved.
The relations between Greece and Macedonia has now greatly improved thanks to the active efforts of the current government in Skopje, Hahn said, adding that there is also willingness in the Greek government for finding political solution.
He said that the EU Commission has already recommended nine times to open accession negotiations with Macedonia. He said that EU member states now realize that the Western Balkan countries must have a clear perspective on European integration in order to ensure long-term stability in the region.
As a good example of the positive role of the EU, Hahn underlined overcoming of the political crisis in Macedonia. It is becoming clear how EU’s engagement can make a difference, Hahn said, adding that the countries of the region should be included in the European security network.