North Macedonia is likely to gain the European Union support to start membership talks later this year, according to the EU diplomats.
“North Macedonia has a good chance, given the historic resolution of its name issue,” the diplomatic source confirmed.
The name change from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Republic of North Macedonia has offered Skopje momentum and is highly likely to persuade Paris, Berlin and The Hague to back EU talks.
Image above: Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, Johannes Hahn, Member of the EC in charge of European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, receive Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of North Macedonia.
“Many people were sceptical about the possibility of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. We are there, thanks to the dedication, the commitment, I would say the courage, the leadership, and the hope that the Prime Ministers, the Foreign Ministers have put in this process” – said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini at ceremony of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece of the signature of agreement on the name issue at Prespa lake.
“The European Union and the two of us personally have been accompanying this process step by step” – Mogherini reminded. “We are here today, first of all to thank the two sides, because they make us all Europeans proud of the capacity to find – through diplomacy, through dialogue – a win-win solution for a problem that was long-standing for too many decades. It makes Europe more peaceful, more united and that also opens the way for the entire region of the Balkans to live in a different kind of atmosphere.”
Regarding EU membership perspective for Severna Macedonia Mogerini continued:
the EU External Actions service has already recommended as the European Commission to start the negotiations, and in a fortnight the European Council (28-29 June).
The EU “wholeheartedly” congratulated Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras of Greece and Zoran Zaev (pictured) of FYROM (Republic of Macedonia) for their determination and leadership in reaching a “historic agreement” between their countries, which to the EU opinion will contribute to the transformation of the entire region of South-East Europe.
“This achievement belongs to the leaders of the two countries and their teams, but first and foremost it belongs to all the citizens of both countries, and of Europe as a whole” – the European External Action Service issued on occasion said.
The negotiating process, under the auspices of the United Nations and the mediation of the personal envoy of the UNSG, Matthew Nimetz, and with the European Union’s strong support, is also clear proof of the power of multilateral diplomacy, dialogue, respect and willingness to find win-win solutions to even the most difficult of issues. Together, we must now make good use of the window of opportunity that has been pushed wide open to accompany and consolidate the winds of peace and cooperation in the entire region.
The endorsement of the recommendation of 17 April to open accession negotiations with Severna Makedonija (Severna Macedonia/Northern Macedonia) in awaited at June Council.