Remarks by President Donald Tusk after his meeting with President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski
Mister President, it’s a pleasure to welcome you in Brussels on your first official visit abroad. Both your recent elections and your trip to Brussels are highly symbolic, and a source of hope for your country and your region.
First, your undisputed election victory shows the new trust among citizens and political forces in the democratic process, and creates a solid basis for institutional stability.
Second, the elections confirmed your country’s Euro-Atlantic orientation.
Third, your elections turned into a referendum over inter-ethnic reconciliation and mending of relations with neighbours. And you passed this test successfully. The agreements that your country reached with Bulgaria and Greece are nothing but historic, and are examples to be followed by your region and beyond.
Over the last two years, your country has delivered all the right political signals that the EU was expecting from the candidates. And indeed, the opening of accession talks was at the centre of our discussions today.
To keep in line with my role as President of the European Council, I do not want to prejudge the EU’s decisions. You have done everything that was expected of you. But I want to be honest with you: not all member states are prepared to make the decision on opening negotiations in the coming days.
I personally believe that there can only be one decision: to launch the negotiations in line with the European Commission’s recommendations, both with North Macedonia and Albania. The question today is, not if, but when. If I am a bit cautious, it is because I know that, sometimes, reaching consensus among 28 member states takes more time than I would like.
But there is no doubt that the place of your country and the whole region is in the EU. Thank you.
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