Zbogar hopes Macedonia to reach national consensus over name dispute

It is very good news that the UN name mediator Matthew Nimetz is visiting the region, because the best solutions can be found only through dialogue, EU Ambassador to Macedonia Samuel Zbogar said Tuesday answering journalist question about the EU’s expectations from Nimetz’s visit and from the name dispute negotiations between Macedonia and Greece.

“In the past several months there were many contacts between the governments of the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Greece and I think that we can call it a warm-up period for negotiations. Also, we could see that there was a meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries in Davos,” Zbogar said during his visit to the municipality of Konche.

According to him, EU supports these meetings and contacts and the forthcoming Nimetz’s visit is a good indicator that negotiations can start and that they can give a result that will be satisfactory for both sides.

“We as European Union were very happy to see that your country’s political leaders held meeting last Saturday to discuss this strategic issue. We hope that a national consensus can be reached on this issue,” Zbogar said.

He added that the EU has high expectations from the upcoming Western Balkans conference, which is to be held next week, and from the European Council meeting in June.

“The EU is facing many interesting months and I can say that the European Commission will publish Western Balkans strategy next week. It is still early to say something more concretely, but this strategy is EU vision on how it sees the region further in the enlargement process. Certainly, we will have to wait until next week and until the next months, and June when we will have a meeting of the European Council,” Zbogar said.

He pointed out that many important decisions are expected to be reached at the meeting, related to the EU enlargement process with the Western Balkan countries, and that he hopes that some Western Balkan countries can open accession negotiations.