Enlargement: North Macedonia receives positive feedback from Brussels

Enlargement: North Macedonia receives positive feedback from Brussels

In its report on enlargement, the European Commission was quite positive about Skopje, but the country is still unable to start accession negotiations due to Bulgaria’s veto.

Authorities in Sofia have accepted the French proposal to lift the veto, but Macedonia’s parliament does not have a sufficient majority to amend the country’s constitution to recognize Bulgarians as an official minority.

“Existing bilateral agreements, including the Prespa Agreement between North Macedonia and Greece and the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborhood and Cooperation with Bulgaria, must be implemented in good faith by all parties »reads the Commission’s report on North Macedonia.

The Commission has agreed to guarantee compliance with Bulgaria’s key requirements. Almost 120,000 North Macedonians have Bulgarian passports, which is the main argument in favor of the Bulgarian application.

The likelihood of this happening is very slim as the Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE), an opposition party, has staunchly refused to support the proposed constitutional changes.

Meanwhile, North Macedonia was praised by Brussels for its foreign policy in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“North Macedonia has made very good progress towards full alignment with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine. North Macedonia has shown that it can be a reliable partner,” the commission report says. North Macedonia is doing all it can to support Kyiv, including sending tanks to the Ukrainian army.

The country is a much larger donor to Ukraine than Bulgaria, its EU neighbor. The Skopje authorities are also being commended for their efforts to “strengthen democracy and the rule of law despite certain challenges”.

“The country has shown its commitment to continue delivering results in key areas of fundamental elements,” the report said. The Commission reports that the Center for Corruption Prevention (SCPC) has been proactive in providing public bodies with anti-corruption policies and has initiated several cases, including cases against senior government officials.

Macedonian media also commented on the commission’s report and generally described it as a success for the country.

Reference: www.euractiv.fr

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