Zaev and Borrel: North Macedonia met conditions to start negotiations and deserves to continue the following phase of the process without delay

Today the President of the Government of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, accompanied by the Deputy President of the Government in charge of European Affairs, Nikola Dimitrov and Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani, had a meeting with the VP of the European Commission and High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy of EU, Josep Borrel. 

After the meeting both interlocutors, Zaev and Borrel, issued statements for the results of the other meetings of our delegation to Brussels. Below you will find the statements of both officials. 

Integral statement of PM Zaev 

Dear Vice President Borrel, 
Distinguished citizens of the European Union and of the Republic of North Macedonia,
I am finalizing my working visit to Brussels and it is very satisfying that one of my last meetings is with the Vice President of the European Commission and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell. 

We had a fruitful discussion about the process of EU integration of North Macedonia. 

We have a clear mission these days in Brussels – and that is to pass the message from Macedonian citizens, to EU officials that we worked hard, we delivered and we want to give our fair-share to the future of Europe.

We breathе, we live and we grow with the European ideas and values! And we know there is no other way but the European way. We are committed on our common values and on implementation of EU standards and criteria. And we don`t want to stand and wait any more. We want to move because moving forward is the European way. We are for mobility, not for walls.

We are not asking more than what we deserve, and that is to hold the first IGC as soon as possible. It was acknowledged and confirmed since March 2020 - North Macedonia has fulfilled its obligations - and now it is time for EU to deliver.

Can we talk about Western Balkans without North Macedonia? Can we talk about Europe without Western Balkans? No! 

We struggled a lot in the last decades and in the last century in order to find the way to peace and tolerance. And now we are all set to integrate, to dream together and to achieve together. 

A positive move forward for North Macedonia, would mean a message of encouragement for the entire region. A set-back for North Macedonia it will be a message of discouragement, for entire Western Balkans. 

I know this, and European leaders know this.  Let`s do the European way together.
Thank you!

Integral statement of EC VP and High Representative for Foreign Policy of EU, Borrel: 

I am really happy that I could welcome today PM Zaev at the External Action Quarters here in Brussels. And it is a very timely meeting because just yesterday we had an interesting and long discussion at the Foreign Affairs Ministries Council of EU about the Western Balkans; about the importance of the WB and our continued commitment to the region. 

The ministers, all of them, reaffirm the European perspective of the whole region. There was a strong support to convey the first IGC for North Macedonia, as soon as possible. We know that you have been waiting for a long time; sixteen years maybe, you are the second long-lasting country on the door of the enlargement. But I can tell you there was a strong support from all ministers for the first conference to take place. 

Let me stress very clearly, I did so yesterday, at the press-conference and I want to repeat it again: there is no support for decoupling, neither in EU’s institutions, nor among the member-states. North Macedonia met the necessary conditions to start accession negotiations, and similarly to Albania, deserves to proceed to the next stage of the process without delay. 

I would also like to underline the high level of your alignment with our FSP. And for me, a high representative, this is very important. You very courageously and sometimes, paying the price for it, have been aligning with our Common Foreign and Secutiryt pOlicy. We appreciate it a lot. And I understand this as your expression to the European path for your country. I want to insist on this idea: North Macedonia can count for support when it comes to finding a solution to advance on the accession path, but also when it comes to vaccines. We just delivered the first batch of a total of 120,000 vaccines for EU’s financed vaccines for North Macedonia, and these come without conditionality. 

This was a geo-political challenge for us, to have the Western Balkans in general, and North Macedonia, in particular, face the pandemic; our commitment was clear in our meeting today and it was also under discussion of the twenty seven Foreign ministers yesterday. 

Thank you for your visit.