North Macedonia has already done its share, and now EU leaders should do their share, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said at the joint press conference with PM Zoran Zaev.
“Skopje is the best possible place where I would like to appeal to the leaders of the European Union: Now you do your share. Because North Macedonia has already done its share. Your country, within the last two years, has done everything that was expected of you for the EU to be able to launch the negotiations in line with the European Commission’s recommendation. Together we have withstood one of the biggest migration crises that Europe has faced since the Second World War. It was for all of us a very difficult and demanding test of responsibility and effectiveness of action. Your country passed this test better than many EU Member States. You have also found a solution to the dramatic political crisis in your country. A solution based on democratic principles, decency and common sense. And through your Friendship Treaty with Bulgaria and the Prespa Agreement with Greece, you have become champions of political rationalism and political maturity in your region. These achievements are truly impressive, internationally recognized and should not be wasted by the EU,” Tusk said.
When the EU leaders met in June, three months ago, they committed to deliver a “clear and substantive” decision – in October – on whether to open accession talks with North Macedonia, he added.
“I expressed my personal views clearly back in June: your country, within the last two years, has done everything that was expected of you for the EU to be able to launch the negotiations in line with the European Commission’s recommendation. That continues to be my strong conviction. Your country has done everything. That is also why I came to North Macedonia today. I wish to make it crystal clear: there is no doubt in Brussels about your political commitment to the rule of law and to fighting corruption,” Tusk noted, adding that of course, anybody can at anytime and anywhere do more, especially when it comes to implementation. But we know very well that your government is determined and consistent in this, also as regards the continuation of the work of the Special Prosecutor’s Office.
Zaev expressed gratitude to Tusk for the support and assistance during his overall five-year term of office.
“In the period until the upcoming session of the European Council, let us crown this mutual friendship and support with a joint historical success in October. Joint because it is joint interest of both North Macedonia and EU. This is a period of greatest importance for achievement of the strategic goals of our country with a long term and substantial significance for our citizens,” Zaev said at the press conference.
After 10 positive recommendations from the EC, the optimistic conclusions of the Council in 2018 and 2019 and the results that we created we are more and more convinced that we are prepared to tackle all challenges brought by accession negotiation process, Zaev added.
“Our expectations and ambitions for the council of the EU on 15 of October and European Council on 17 and 18 of October are the adoption of a decision for the opening negotiations for accession without further ado. Tusk will chair this historical session for us of the European Council where the EU member states should confirm this decision and that is why I had informed him in detail about all efforts we have made in the past two and half and also in the past 15 years as a country candidate for membership in the EU that expects to initiate negotiations,” PM Zaev said.
“By initiation of the accession negotiations, we enter a deep and a long transformational journey towards the aim – membership in the EU. This process has been undoubtedly proven to be a necessary tool that will generate positive and successful stories in countries candidates,” said Zaev.