Mogherini to deliver speech in Parliament

 EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini will deliver a speech Thursday in the Macedonian Parliament.

I am bringing the good news that the European Commission has recommended for Macedonia to commence the EU accession talks, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said Wednesday at a joint press conference with Prime minister Zoran Zaev.

And yes the good news is this: you are back, you are back on track and the assessment that the European Commission has made, merit-based, is that the conditions that were put last time have been met and that we recommend the Council to take the decision to open negotiations, Mogherini said.

‘I think this is a major achievement you have to be proud of, you can celebrate – for half a day and then go back to work. But this is an achievement that, as you rightly mentioned Mr Prime Minister, not only for the government, but for all the institutions of the country, from the President, to the government, to the Parliament, to the local authorities, to the civil society, to the citizens of this country. And that has also involved the capacity from the majority and from the opposition to work together,’ she said.

The country and its citizens have deserved the unconditional recommendation. EU members have recognized the work done. I am here to announce the long-awaited good news, to celebrate the success after the extensive efforts for overcoming the crisis, said Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn while handing over the EC Progress Report to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

“The country has gone through a long way and is now firmly back on the European track despite many hardships. There is a positive change, a renewed sense of openness, energy and hope. Good vibrations are felt within the country and this needs to be improved,” said Hahn at the joint press conference.

He stressed that Macedonia is an example of democratic change in the region and added he was impressed by the work done regarding the Urgent Reform Priorities.

“I sincerely congratulate you, the Government, the Parliament and the opposition for supporting this national objective,” said Hahn.

He highlighted that reforms should not stop here but resume, especially in the judiciary.

PM Zaev said the clear recommendation is a strong incentive for achievement of the difficult but attainable goal – start of EU accession talks.

“We will work more energetically in June in order to get a date for negotiations. We are resuming with the essential reforms and we will establish a new plan of reforms following the Plan 3-6-9,” stressed Zaev.

He thanked the EU countries for supporting Macedonia and its citizens, the NGO sector and all other stakeholders for their joint efforts.

“EC acknowledges the work done. The recommendation was suspended and conditioned by democratic reforms and proper environment in the past two reports. This year, the recommendation is clear and unconditional. Macedonia is meeting the basic democratic criterion for the start of negotiations,” said Zaev.

He added that EU integration will result in an improved business climate, higher salaries, better life.