France once again announced its support for the European integration of North Macedonia, but called on the country to accept the constitutional changes that are part of the conditions to start real negotiations for EU membership.
It was Paris that drove the introduction of the constitutional changes into the negotiating framework of Skopje.
“France wants to strongly engage with the Western Balkans, including North Macedonia, and has a clear desire for the countries of the region to advance in their European integration.” France’s special envoy for the Western Balkans, René Trocaz, said in an interview with Sittel TV.
According to him, there are many challenges in the Western Balkans that need to be overcome, but for which reforms are needed.
“President Emmanuel Macron was clear in his position that the integration process for the Western Balkans should be accelerated. The goal is this, and we have a very clear and definite line – we want to help the countries of the Western Balkans, such as North Macedonia, to join the EU. I know there were debates in North Macedonia, I think it is now very important to see what your priority will be from here on. Our priority is to help speed up the European integration process in the Western Balkans.” said Trokaz, quoted by BTA.
He has spoken with the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Fatmir Bitici and the Deputy Prime Minister responsible for good governance policies Slavica Grkovska, with the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bojan Maricic, with the leader of the largest Albanian party DSI Ali Ahmeti. He is also expected to meet with the chairman of the largest opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, Hristiyan Mitskoski.
When asked what he expects from this meeting, since it is VMRO-DPMNE that opposes the changes in the constitution, Trokaz answered: “I will tell him that we talk to everyone in the same way, we do not have double standards and the fate of North Macedonia is in its hands, and the commitment to move the country forward is not only of the government, but also of all parties in the parliament. “
“I know that the French proposal was criticized, not by all, but by some. Let’s think if it would be better if this proposal was not there? Without it, the situation would be a complete deadlock. We see that there are difficulties now, we understand the sensitivity, but now you have to move forward. We want to press, help and respect. We are not Macedonians, we are friends of North Macedonia and we cannot speak for our Macedonian partners and friends, but we think you should move forward, politically and institutionally to advance in order to overcome these difficulties and go strongly on the European path”, Trokaz said.
VMRO-DPMNE, however, has for now blocked the constitutional changes and strongly criticized the French proposal.
According to Trokaz, the question of the date of accession of North Macedonia to the EU is not key, because the answer would be that it should happen as quickly as possible.
“But we have to be prepared, 2030 is a possibility that I would put as a perspective and it should be an ambition for all of us. We have to work for faster expansion, but for that it is important that on the one hand Europe helps you, and will help you with support, and on the other hand you also need to work for the reforms. This is a two-way process, but it is important that it ends real, fast and successfully.” Trokaz said.