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Disagreement among EU states over starting entry talks with North Macedonia, Albania

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The EU member-states were at odds Monday over starting negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia to enter the bloc, while Cyprus threatened to veto any agreement on future enlargement unless the EU toughens its line on Turkish drilling.

EU ministers from the bloc’s 28 states will meet in Luxembourg today to discuss starting accession  negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. Last year, North Macedonia sealed a landmark deal with Greece, EU member, ending a perennial  dispute. The deal prompted public call by many EU states to reward the country.

At stake is also the EU’s own credibility and the bloc’s willingness to act against what it sees as growing influence by Russia and other foreign powers in the region still scarred by wars fought along religious and ethnic lines in the 1990s.

But national diplomats preparing the Tuesday meeting failed to reach an agreement on a joint legal statement, which needs unanimous backing of all EU states to be approved.

“There has been a massive disagreement and it’s not sure at all that ministers tomorrow will be able to find an agreement,” an EU diplomat is quoted by Reuters as saying.

Rifts persisted on the latest draft text, including where it would say that enlargement would also depend on the EU’s ability to reform itself and effectively integrate any new members.

The latest – but still disputed – draft, which was seen by Reuters, would push any decision on North Macedonia and Albania to October and after the German parliament is due to look into the matter.

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Macedonia

North Macedonia, Serbia sign memorandum of cooperation to facilitate digitalization

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North Macedonia’s Ministry of Information Society and Administration and Serbian Government’s  Office on Information Technologies and Electronic Administration have signed a memorandum of cooperation to promote innovation and drive digital transformation.

Minister of Information Society and Administration, Damja Mancevski underlined the importance of digital transformation in improving the every day’s life of the citizens, by use of simple tools to access the services needed.

“The Government is committed to transparency, improving efficiency in public service delivery, accountability in the work of institutions. Therefore, we decided to change and upgrade the wib-sites of the Government and all Ministries. That’s how we put in motion our pledges set out in the Public Administration Reform Strategy, in an effort to secure accessibility of all institutions,” Mancevski said.

Serbia’s Jovanovic said the Memorandum of Cooperation aims to facilitate digital transformation. The Memo is a result of good cooperation between the Prime Ministers of Serbia and North Macedonia, Ana Brnbic and Zoran Zaev. Furthermore, it reflects the visible results of Serbian Government in terms of digitalization of public administration and launch of ‘Serbia digitalizes’ project.

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Macedonia

SDSM: Mickoski evades party leader meeting

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The ruling Social Democrats blamed the leader of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party of trying to block reform drive and hurt the country. “Hristijan Mickoski is running away from party leader meeting,” the SDSM said on Friday.

“He objects the census, yet he doesn’t want to sit at the table and talk. Mickoski wants the country’s population to remain officially uncounted for early two decades. The country does not  keep track of its population for 18 years. He follows in the footsteps of VMRO-DPMNE’s criminal wing. Mickoski is against justice. He is against rule of law and non-selective justice. He remains adamantly opposed to the ‘equality before the law’ principle. Mickoski is running away from talks on public prosecution law,” the Social Democrats said in a statement.

The ruling party claims Mickoski is allegedly making a push for snap election, but actually, he doesn’t want to talk about electoral code, because he knows he will be defeated.

“SDSM will not allow destructions. SDSM stands firm against any attempt to hinder the progress and reform drive. Any attempt to harbor Nikola Gruevski will fail, any attempt to cover for Gruevski’s wrongdoing will fail,” the ruling party said.

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Macedonia

North Macedonia, South Korea establish diplomatic ties

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South Korea has formally established diplomatic relations with North Macedonia, Yonhap news agency quotes the Seoul-based foreign ministry as saying on Thursday.

Ambassador to the United Nations Cho Tae-yul signed the joint communique with Sanja Zografska Krsteska, North Macedonia’s charge d’affaires at the U.N. on Thursday, the ministry said.

North Macedonia is the 191st country to have established formal ties with South Korea.

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