A two-day summit of EU leaders kicks off in Brussels in the afternoon, with the decision to start negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania expected to be discussed.
The European Union has so far failed to reach a compromise on the issue, with the main opposition coming from France, which considers that the negotiation process with the candidate states must first be reformed before a decision is made. Most EU member states believe that North Macedonia should be given a date, thus preserving EU’s credibility.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, after meeting in Brussels with Commissioner Johannes Hahn, has called on European leaders to unanimously approve the decision to start negotiations with North Macedonia.
Zaev said any postponement of the decision would have negative consequences for the country and the region, and therefore addressed European leaders with the words “Don’t extinguish us, extinguish the stars, become our heroes”.
The main opposition VMRO-DPMNE party said Zaev is responsible for failing to get a date for the start of EU talks, arguing that the country should get a date for the start of talks and that the Zaev-led Social Democratic League is guilty of toppling the state.
“SDSM is not capable of making the reforms that are necessary to move the state forward”, said VMRO-DPMNE, which calls for early parliamentary elections. Early elections are also demanded by the Albanian opposition. The Alliance for Albanians said the citizens of North Macedonia deserve the date for the start of negotiations, but not the government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
Debates in Skopje are raging over the dilemmas of what if the country fails to secure a date and that the upcoming elections will lead the country down an uncertain path./ibna