Osmani reassures: Macedonia to start EU accession negotiations in 2019

“2019 will be the year when Macedonia is to open EU accession negotiations,” Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani told a press conference on Sunday.
His expectations are based on the achievements in the historical 2018, the expectation for the finalization of obligations stemming from the Prespa Agreement, the implementation of the priorities set out in Plan 18 and above all the statement of the EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn on the time-frame for EU accession.
“Although there is pessimism about whether we are ready, however, the Hahn’s statement that Macedonia can join Serbia and Montenegro on accession path to 2025 is the news of the year because 2025 is in front of the door and the ball is in our half court to deliver the results so that we can meet that deadline,” Osmani said.
According to Osmani, there is a technical dilemma regarding the date of accession negotiations, as the time gap between announcing progress reports for candidate countries, which usually happens in April, holding an EP election and reviewing those reports from EU member states, is narrowing.
For that reason he met with the Romanian Minister of European Integration, whose country is to take over EU’s rotating presidency, aimed at having enough space from publishing the progress report, by end of May to the Council of the EU is to decide (usually on June 20 or 21) in order to be able to verify the report in the parliaments of the member states in those 20 days, so that there will be no surprises.
Osmani said that screening and the formation of negotiating structures are underway and several chapters have already been opened in Brussels.
Concerning the reforms, he stressed that following the valorization with the EC’s June Report, which brought a precise reform framework incorporated into Plan 18, and in line with the conclusions of the European Council, is focused on reforms in the judiciary, security services, public administration and the fight against organized crime and corruption.
So far, 66 percent of the planned measures have been implemented, and a breakthrough has been made with the adoption of several laws in the judiciary and in the security reforms. Considering that most of these laws are to be adopted by a two-thirds majority, the government held talks with opposition lawmakers, and received support by some of them, and therefore it expects most of laws to be forwarded to Parliament to be adopted by year-end.