Osmani also said, “The eyes of 18 million people are turned to Sofia”
We are waiting to see how we will continue the negotiations with Bulgaria. Time is short, the eyes of 18 million people in the Western Balkans are focused on what decision Sofia will make. The question is no longer whether Northern Macedonia will start negotiations, the question is whether the Western Balkans have a European perspective at all.
This was stated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Northern Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at a joint press conference in Skopje with his Croatian counterpart, Goran Garlic Radman.
Osmani described the two-day all-day talks with the Bulgarian delegation, led by Minister Teodora Genchovska last weekend, as one of the best and encouraged talks to continue. But he said after what happened to the government in Sofia, “now we are waiting to see what happens next, how we will proceed.”
“Of course, time is short. The remaining days are in the hands of Bulgaria, a country that returned the Western Balkans to the European agenda at the Sofia summit in 2018, after which Zagreb stamped that agenda during its presidency. Will the perspective of the Western Balkans be “buried” again in Sofia – unfortunately, I will use such a word? The eyes of 18 million people are turned to Sofia as to what decision it will make. The question is no longer whether Northern Macedonia will start negotiations, the question is whether the Western Balkans have a European perspective at all. “I hope that Bulgarian politicians will not allow a monument to be erected in Sofia on the grave of the most successful EU policy in the last 75 years, such as the enlargement policy,” Osmani said.
According to him, if there is political will, there is sufficient reason to end the issue tomorrow and reach an agreement after the talks so far.
“We have the political will, we are ready to continue immediately after this press conference with the talks. It is already a question of relations between the EU and the Western Balkans. “Whether these relations will be destroyed or revived is a decision that must be taken by the EU,” said Minister Osmani.
Edi Rama: “There will be no negotiations for EU membership soon, Bulgaria is to blame”
All other countries agree and think this must have already happened, the Albanian prime minister said
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has said he does not expect next week’s EU summit to pave the way for his country to start EU membership talks, blaming Bulgaria, Politico reported today. “I have no expectations. I don’t think anything will happen. Albania and Northern Macedonia will not formally start accession talks,” he said in Tirana.
All EU governments agreed as early as March 2020 to give the green light to Albania and Northern Macedonia to start membership talks. However, negotiations have not yet begun, as Bulgaria is pushing for concessions from northern Macedonia in a dispute between the two countries over language, history and identity.
The difficulties of the countries of the Western Balkans are a timely warning of the vicissitudes of the EU accession process for Ukraine, which in the midst of the war with Russia is pushing to become a candidate for EU membership at next week’s summit. The EU granted this status to Northern Macedonia in 2005 and Albania in 2014, but negotiations with both countries have not yet begun.
Asked if any of the EU leaders had given a signal that the talks could start soon, Rama replied: “What signals can they give? It’s not about them. It’s about Bulgaria again. They all agree, everyone supports, everyone they think this should happen and that it should have happened already. But their room for maneuver is limited by Bulgaria. “