The European Parliament is set to vote Thursday on a motion to pass a resolution calling on the EU member-states to take unanimous decision to start membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, bearing in mind the consequences of no-action.
The MEPs are set to reiterate their support for opening accession talks with the two Western Balkan countries.
Ministers of EU member states meeting in Luxembourg on 15 October failed to reach a unanimous agreement on kicking off membership talks with both Albania and North Macedonia, despite heavy pressure from a vast majority of member states to begin negotiations. The item ended up on the table for EU heads of state or government, who also failed to reach unanimity on the EU accession prospects for both Balkan hopefuls.
The European Parliament has, in previous resolutions, expressed its strong support to start talks with both countries.
MEPs discussed the conclusions of the 17-18 October EU summit in plenary Wednesday morning with Presidents Juncker and Tusk. During his introductory speech, his last in Parliament as European Council President, Donald Tusk and the outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker condemned the EU Council decision not to begin membership talks with Skopje and Tirana.
The MEPs of the European People’s Party (EPP), the Social Democrats, the Liberals, the Greens, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) have teamed up and drafted a resolution that cautions of possible consequences of any eventual change in the EU enlargement policy.
The draft-resolution expresses deep disappointment at the bloc’s inability to agree to start accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. The MEPs stress that any delay is a strategic mistake.
Arrest warrant issued for Spasov
Former special police officer Igor Spasov, who has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for murdering Martin Neskoski, is wanted on recall to prison after going missing.
Macedonian police issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday after he failed to show up to begin his sentence. The arrest warrant has been published on the web-site of the Ministry of Interior.
The former member of special police force vanished after ignoring summons to serve time after he was sentenced in prison on murder charges.
The man had probably fled justice to avoid serving a 14-year jail sentence for a murder conviction. He was to report to Idrizovo correctional facility on 18 October.
The murder took place during a late-night celebration of VMRO-DPMNE’s victory in 2011 parliamentary elections.
Matthew Palmer due in Skopje today
The US Secretary of State’s Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, will visit North Macedonia on Tuesday.
Special Representative Palmer is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.
The two are expected to discuss the bilateral relations between North Macedonia and the United States, including the US support for the country’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. They will exchange views on the situation in the country and the region.
In late August, the U.S. State Department appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Palmer as special envoy for the Western Balkans with a mandate to help integrate the region into Western institutions.
US Secretary of State has appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer as his Special Representative for the Western Balkans. In this role, Palmer will lead our efforts to strengthen U.S. diplomatic engagement in support of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and focus on integration of the Western Balkan countries into Western institutions.
Zaev: We can give argument to reassure Macron
We can give arguments to reassure President Macron that “methodology prior to enlargement” proposal could be converted into “enlargement along with change in methodology”, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev wrote on his Facebook page, alluding to France’s Emmanuel Macron’s initiative for new enlargement methodology.
“We are not only a strategic interest, we are Europe. It means we will become a member of the European Union once we wrap up the comprehensive reform at home. The pre-accession process and closure of chapters will help us make it happen. The accession negotiations will help us wrap up domestic reform,” Zaev wrote on his Facebook page.
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