Despite the outstanding issues of ratification of the FYROM – Greece Agreement, the European Union has commenced membership talks for FYROM with Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, meeting with officials in Skopje on Tuesday.
The visit to Skopje by Commissioner Hahn marks the official launch of preparatory work towards the opening of accession negotiations in June 2019 with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
On Tuesday Hahn met with FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Speaker Talat Xhaferi, and representatives of political parties, and addressed the National Council for European Integration where he also congratulated FYROM on the agreement it signed with Greece on the name issue and on the invitation to join NATO once the agreement was implemented. He also called on citizens of the Balkan country to ratify the deal with Greece, as “the door to the EU is now open” and it is up to them to seize the opportunity.
Speaking to media in Skopje, Hahn said that he was pleased to announce the official launch of the screening process. He said the process would allow FYROM become familiar with European regulations, and the EU to determine the extent of their commitment to observing the regulations, especially in terms of the state of law.
During his address at the national council he called the process “an appointment with history”, and said there was no time to lose, as it was “only the beginning of a long journey.” He called on all forces in the country to rally before the challenges ahead and take advantage of a unique opportunity to make a difference for the better.