EU to open accession talks if Macedonia keeps up with reforms

  • Giada Negri
  • 11.12.2017 06:56

On 6 December, after a meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and enlargement negotiations Johannes Hahn stated they are ready to open accession talks with ‘unconditional recommendation’ if Zaev continues reforms. Among the most urgent reforms are the secret services, public administration, and judiciary system.

Macedonia was granted candidate status in 2005, but geopolitical disputes with neighbouring countries prevented the process from progressing. Though a new enlargement is unlikely to happen until the EU finds a solution to its internal challenges and enlargement fatigue, both Macedonia and the EU are eager to integrate the country in the Euro-Atlantic sphere to stabilise the region and limit Russia’s influence. Stability in Western Balkans is back on top of the European agenda as militant Islamism, Russia and ethnic tensions are all threats to it. Opening the negotiations would leverage EU’s pressure to move Macedonian reforms forward. Zaev has also proved his Euro-Atlantic commitment by joining a NATO military exercise and smoothing relations with Greece and Bulgaria.

About author: Giada Negri

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