Pendarovski: EU has forgotten North Macedonia, the Western Balkans

Source: N1

President of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, said that he is not satisfied with his country’s European integration process since negotiations on its membership in the European Union (EU) are starting now, 17 years after it was awarded candidate status.

“The European Union has practically forgotten us and, with a series of blackmails in the meantime, thank God, we somehow managed to make some kind of compromise with the Republic of Bulgaria, with the French presidency’s help, and to open negotiations. However, if you look back, we have had the candidate status since 2005, and if you are starting negotiations only now, no one can say that we have been very successful in this regard,” Pendarovski told the Anadolu agency.

Stressing that the wait is not a result of an absence of reforms but rather of many obstructions, the Macedonian President said that several European countries have not been interested in the Balkan region.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are absolutely forgotten states, Kosovo cannot get visa liberalization. What kind of Euro-enthusiasm do you want in that population, you want them to be in favor of the European Union?!“ said Pendarovski.

Noting that Montenegro and Serbia have been negotiating on EU membership for ten years, he said that all countries of the Western Balkans are waiting to make progress towards the European Union.

As a result of all this, said Pendarovski, young people from all over the Balkans are leaving, adding that no country in the region now has nearly as many inhabitants as it did 20-30 years ago.

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