Austria, Czechia, Slovenia support start of North Macedonia’s EU membership talks

Austria´s Alexander Schallenberg, the Czech Republic’s Jakub Kulhánek and Slovenia´s Anze Logar arrived in North Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, to offer their backing for EU accession talks scheduled for June. [Shutterstock/Alexandros Michailidis]

The foreign ministers of Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia voiced unanimous support on Saturday for North Macedonia and Albania to start EU membership talks, arguing that bilateral issues should not block the EU’s enlargement into the Western Balkans.

Austria’s Alexander Schallenberg, the Czech Republic’s Jakub Kulhánek and Slovenia´s Anze Logar arrived in North Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, to offer their backing for EU accession talks scheduled for June. Bulgaria on Friday once again ruled out a possible reversal of its veto following a meeting with EU officials. 

The Czech Republic´s Kulhánek said it is “not fair” for one EU member nation to condition the enlargement process on a bilateral dispute. “This is a crucial time, and we cannot allow [the process] to be stuck with such demands,” he said. 

On Friday, Zoran Zaev, North Macedonia’s prime minister, said the two EU officials (Olivér Várhelyi, commissioner for enlargement and Augusto Santos Silva, Portuguese Foreign Minister) presented a proposal that provided a “good basis” for resolving the country’s dispute with Bulgaria. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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