Skopje, 25 March 2020 (MIA) – In these tough times for our people, the Balkans and the world we got joyous and long-awaited news from the EU – a decision for the start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia. The historic mistake has been fixed, there are no obstacles or conditions. The European Commission is set to make the required preparations and the first intergovernmental conference will take place as soon as possible, said SDSM leader Zoran Zaev on Wednesday.
“In the midst of the coronavirus fight, when all our capacities and thoughts are aimed towards protecting the people’s health, this is an encouraging message that only hard work and statesmanlike decisions can lead to overcoming of challenges. We have freed the country and took bold decisions to end problems with neighbors. We put an end to profligacy and fear, putting the economy back on its feet, joining NATO and now we are starting the EU talks,” Zaev told a press conference.
He thanked the EU for the EUR 66 million in assistance for North Macedonia right after the decision on the accession negotiations was made official.
“We are thankful for this support because we can successfully cope with all challenges only by staying together,” added Zaev.
He thanked the SDSM-led Government and the Parliament for their efforts in reaching the Prespa Agreement and the Bulgaria Friendship Treaty, the reforms and the constitutional changes that required a two-thirds majority by MPs, who demonstrated historic responsibility on behalf of their people and the secure future ahead.
The SDSM leader also thanked the citizens and the 80-percent support they give to the Euro-integration path.
“This decision ends our 15-year wait after getting the EU candidate status. There is no turning back. North Macedonia’s future has been secured and guaranteed – NATO and EU member. We are now starting the process of positive transformation of the state and society that all EU member-states have gone through,” said Zaev.
He also thanked the European leaders and institutions for their assistance and support.
“It was worth fighting for this. Our will to work and be successful is even greater. We are now facing the challenge of beating this health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus and then fully commit to the process of accession negotiations. I know we will come out as winners,” underlined Zaev.