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Tusk to MEPs: EU’s failure to open entry talks with North Macedonia, Albania a big mistake

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European Council President Donald Tusk, in a report to the European Parliament on European Council meeting on 17 and 18 October, said it was a big mistake not to set a date for opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

“The leaders held a difficult debate on enlargement. Following the clear recommendation by the Commission, an overwhelming majority of member states wanted to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. Despite this, the required unanimity was not possible last week,” Tusk said in his address to the European Parliament.

“In my opinion, this was a mistake, which I have said to the leaders and I was a bit more direct then. Now I can only hope that the leaders draw the right conclusions, when they discuss the accession process before the Zagreb summit in May 2020.”

“Together with President-elect von der Leyen, the leaders also discussed the future of the European Union, in terms of its strategic agenda, the future EU budget and the incoming Commission’s priorities. We are determined that the EU leads the way in fighting the climate crisis. A socially just transition to a green economy is not only a necessity, but it is an opportunity to improve our environment, while creating jobs, Tusk told the MEPs.

Earlier, EU Council President Tusk has called the blocking of EU membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania “a mistake”.

Tusk, speaking at a press conference after the EU summit, said “a few members are not ready” to allow North Macedonia and Albania to become members. “This is why we didn’t manage to reach a positive decision. Personally I think it was a mistake,” Tusk told a news conference last week.

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Macedonia

Arrest warrant issued for Spasov

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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.

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Macedonia

Matthew Palmer due in Skopje today

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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.

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Macedonia

Zaev: We can give argument to reassure Macron

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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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