Zernovski: We’re optimists over finally getting a date for start of EU accession talks

We expect all EU member states to give green light to North Macedonia, said Deputy Foreign Minister Andrej Zernovski, ahead of a think-tank forum on “Reinforcing the European Integration of the Western Balkans – Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future” organized by the Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis”, the Warsaw-based Center for Eastern Studies and the Embassy of Poland in Skopje.

“I expect Brussels to finally announce a date for the start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia,” Zernovski continued. “Our country has a strong file allowing us to be optimistic. North Macedonia has managed to prove in a very short period of time that it is a successful model in the Western Balkans and we don’t want to talk about frozen conflicts, but frozen solutions, turning such historic conflicts into friendship and huge benefits.”

“Of course,” he added, “this decision is not only up to us, it depends on the outcome of the European Parliament elections, but we expect a win of the pro-European forces who work towards unity on the continent, and we’re optimists over finally getting a date for start of EU accession negotiations.”

President of the Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” Marko Trosanovski pointed out this was the first time a forum of analytical centers had been organized in North Macedonia as part of the Berlin process under the presidency of Poland.

“There was no such practice so far, and this is an innovation introduced by the Polish presidency in the entire process. The event brings together political analysts, experts from the entire region who should give their input on how the region could move forward,” Trosanovski said. “The Berlin process is not a substitute for the enlargement process, but it complements it.”

Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski extended hope the forum would be fruitful and talks would also be reviewed at the Western Balkans Summit of the Berlin Process that is set to take place in the Polish city of Poznań on July 3-5.

Szynkowski said North Macedonia’s EU prospects were quite optimistic but, he noted, “it’s not my decision, and it’s not a decision that only one country can make.” He added he was hopeful for a decision that would take North Macedonia towards the EU and the country shouldn’t be waiting on EU accession for too long.