The new President of the European Parliament David Sassoli is set to visit North Macedonia on Monday. In an interview with MIA Sassoli says that the blocking of the EU accession talks has made the issue far more alive and present in the public opinion. According to him, the French veto is only a small obstacle that will be overcome in the coming months.
“I decided to make my first visit outside the EU to North Macedonia, and following that, I will go to Albania as well. This is because I believe that these two countries have made enormous efforts in order to become EU members and I think we need to acknowledge this and help them on their way to success. We will not give up,” Sassoli said.
“The best thing of all, despite the fact that there is a brief hold in proceedings now: The governments, the parliaments and the public opinion in the EU are in favour of starting accession talks for these countries,” he added. “This is true for the North, the South, the East or the West. As in any democratic process, of course, we need to reach this decision by consensus. There have been some minor oppositions in this case but we believe that we shall very soon be able to overcome this obstacle.”
“North Macedonia and its people have started on a path of very important reforms and they did so because they were convinced that this would open up the road to accession. We do value these results as extremely positive. This is true for the European Parliament, the European Commission but also for an overwhelming majority of EU member states’ governments. We have a common destiny,” Sassoli noted.
The new President of the European Parliament said that the next six months would be very important, as well as the Zagreb summit.
“I think that we should and probably will reach the Zagreb conference with a consensus on the European side. The actions of the new Commission will also be decisive. We believe that the new Commission will follow the same path as Juncker’s Commission, carry on these efforts and transform them into something solid.
“We haven’t wasted time and these six months won’t be wasted. This will also be an opportunity to underline our conviction. There has just been a hold on a long road, but the last word has certainly not yet been spoken. Another thing that was impressive for us to see is the tone of public debate in North Macedonia: Of course, people were disappointed, that is natural, but there was also a strong signal of hope, this is very positive and we need to build on this,” Sassoli pointed out.
The EP President underlined that a series of requests had been made to North Macedonia and Albania and now they need to be given a signal that they are on the right track.
According to Sassoli, North Macedonia has demonstrated interest for other questions as well, such as the Euroatlantic defence system, which in his opinion really shows that the country has the willingness to come closer to the European family.