Palmer: The US hopes that North Macedonia will get the opening of accession talks in October

The United States is hopeful that North Macedonia will get the opening of the accession negotiations following the European Council meeting on Oct. 16, new U.S. Special Envoy to the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer said in an interview with Voice of America.

“We believe that the government in North Macedonia has cleared that bar many times over. And in fact the European Commission has recommended the opening of the accession negotiations with Skopje for the last nine or 10 years in a row. So we’ve made that position clear to our European partners. We think that would be tremendously helpful,”Palmer said.

North Macedonia, of course, could help its own cause by continuing to pursue the reform agenda to implement the new law on the special prosecutor’s office, Palmer said.

“There are consultations negotiations on that issue in Skopje that are ongoing. We would like to partner with the government in North Macedonia in support of the reform agenda. We’d like to help that country move forward,” Palmer added.

We’re also hopeful that North Macedonia will move forward quickly on the NATO track and that we can look to bringing North Macedonia in as the 30th member of NATO. Ideally as early as December, he said.

Palmer said Washington expects talks between Serbia and Kosovo to restart after Kosovo’s Oct. 6 election.

In an interview with VOA on Wednesday, Palmer said the U.S. is hopeful that the new Kosovo government is “one that’s prepared to suspend the tariffs that are an obstacle to the resumption of the dialogue process.”

He urged Kosovo to “take control of its own destiny” and “recognize that its priority is a deal with Serbia on normalization, and suspending the tariffs is part of that.” Palmer said the U.S. is hopeful that Serbia will then respond with suspending the de-recognition campaign against Kosovo. He also said that U.S. wants to see current political impasse in Albania resolved.