The Western Balkan’s accession to the EU would represent the completion of the union, not its enlargement, said North Macedonia’s deputy prime minister.
Bujar Osmani evaluated his country’s integration efforts into the EU and NATO as well as regional issues, to Anadolu Agency.
Stressing that the EU could not be without the Balkans, Osmani said: “The region’s membership to the EU is the completion of the union, not its enlargement. It doesn’t make sense to have a union with a hole in its heart that could be a source of instability, crisis, and insecurity. So I don’t see any alternative.”
He added that North Macedonia was a “de facto” NATO member and that Skopje was preparing to attend the 70th NATO Summit in London on Dec. 4.
Asked about France’s objections to North Macedonia’s and Albania’s EU accession talks, Osmani said there was a “world consensus” that his country had fulfilled all political and technical conditions to start accession negotiations with the EU.
In October, France opposed EU membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, arguing that both countries needed to implement more reforms before talks could begin.
Osmani stressed that Skopje had no alternative other than joining the EU and NATO, and that the country’s strategic goals are very clear.
“Until the last hour of the council meeting, the information we received from Brussels was that the negotiations would start, 100%. Now, we are skeptical of all declarations,” said Osmani, adding that this event had damaged trust in the EU.
– Dialogue for Prishtina, Belgrade important due to Serbia’s aggressive campaign
Underlining the importance of dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Osmani said Kosovo should establish its own institutions as soon as possible.
“Dialogue is important, especially when Serbia has an aggressive campaign to promote unrecognition,” he said, underscoring that the current state of relations between the two countries caused a “vicious circle”.
Osmani urged the U.S. to appoint two separate representatives for the region and for Kosovo, adding that a final resolution that should involve mutual recognition between Prishtina and Belgrade and their integration in the EU. This can ben achieved through united steps by the U.S. and EU, and help from regional countries, he said.
Speaking about the upcoming Western Balkans Summit in the Ohrid, North Macedonia on Sunday, Osmani said the event was organized without prejudice or political projects.
“We do not do regional projects without the approval of Washington and Brussels,” said Osmani.
* Talha Ozturk from Belgrade contributed to this report