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North Macedonia, Kosovo governments to hold joint session in Skopje

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A joint session of the Governments of North Macedonia and Kosovo will take place in Skopje. The timing will be set by the two countries’ Prime Ministers, Zoran Zaev and Ramus Haradinaj, the government’s press office said in a statement Tuesday.

The Government endorsed the motion of the Secretariat for European Affairs and proceeded with  the necessary preparations for the event. In the course of preparations for the session, talks are ongoing to define modes of cooperation between the two countries in fields spanning transport and infrastructure, trade and economic development, cooperation with Diaspora, home affairs, justice, agriculture, forestry, healthcare, culture, education

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Macedonia

Merkel: Germany to greenlight opening EU entry talks with North Macedonia in September

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German Bundestag will decide in September to approve the launch of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia in line with EU enlargement-related procedures in Germany, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at today’s meeting in berlin with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Deputy PM for European Affairs Bujar Osmani and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov.

According to statement released by government press office in Skopje, Chancellor Merkel stressed that North Macedonia has delivered the homework and that Germany hails the progress that has been made thus far.

Prime Minister Zaev said North Macedonia has full confidence in Chancellor Merkel and supports her policy on the EU enlargement process, as well as her policy on the Western Balkans.

Zaev said he is pleased that German Foreign Office has a positive stance in terms of opening the EU entry talks with North Macedonia and that all legislative procedures and democratic processes must be complied with to enable the Bundestag make a positive decision in September.

“There is a strong belief that this year we are starting the EU membership negotiations. This year we will join Serbia and Montenegro en route to Europe,” Zaev is quoted as saying.

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Macedonia

Dutch parliament greenlights opening EU accession talks with North Macedonia

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The Dutch parliament blocked the opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania, but it endorsed the launch of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia

The EU summit later this month will decide whether to open negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. All decisions concerning the EU accession process are decided at the EU level with unanimity, which means that any member country can block the process. However, opening negotiations with Albania is unlikely after a large majority in the Dutch parliament prohibited such move by the government.

The Dutch parliament passed a motion Wednesday asking the government to block the opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania for 2019.

The motion against Albania’s EU entry bid was submitted by several MPs (Christian Democrats, Liberal-Conservatives, and Christian Union) whose parties are part of the governing coalition in the Netherlands. It got 105 votes in favor out of the 150 MPs of the Dutch Parliament, which is more than a two-third majority.

According to the Dutch government, Albania is not achieving tangible results in the fight against corruption and organized crime. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said that the European Commission’s recommendation to open accession negotiations with Albania was premature. He added that Albania has not fulfilled the criteria on fight against organized crime and corruption.

The late Wednesday’s vote in the Dutch Parliament confirms the blocking of accession negotiations between EU and Albania. It comes several weeks after the parliament demanded the government to ask the European Commission to suspend the visa-free travel for Albanians in the Schengen area.

A second motion, asking the government to block the opening of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia for 2019, failed to secure the needed backing. Majority of MPs voted to reject the motion.

The move is seen as a first step towards separating North Macedonia from the Albania-North Macedonia package in the decision-making process within the EU Council, if Netherlands asks the Council to adopt such approach during the June 18 summit in Luxembourg or the next summit in Brussels.

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Macedonia

VMRO-DPMNE: Debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds 50%

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The opposition VMRO-DPMNE party blamed the government of “ruthless borrowings at the expense of the Macedonian citizens”, noting that the national government debt inched up by 8 million euros. The party claims the net public debt in the past two years exceeded 500.000 million euros.

“Where does  the taxpayers’ money go? The government spends the citizens’ tax money ruthlessly. The country has high national debt at 50% of its gross domestic product (GDP). Unfortunately, the citizens have seen no project of the government of SDSM and Zoran Zaev,” the opposition party said in a press release.

The debt-to-GDP ratio is the ratio of a country’s public debt to its gross domestic product (GDP). By comparing what a country owes with what it produces, the debt-to-GDP ratio indicates its ability to pay back its debts.

“Macedonia’s economy is on the brink of collapse. Zarev must immediately take off his pink-colored glasses and face the fact that more than half a million people in Macedonia survive on one bland meal a day, which is quite bellow poverty threshold,” VMRO-DPMNE says.

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