Securing a European future for the Western Balkans
March 22, 2020
Interview with Mr Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Vice-President of ALDE
March 22, 2020

Ilhan Kyuchyuk in North Macedonia a month before the decisive Council meeting.

The leader of the Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament Dacian Ciolos and the Permanent’s Standing Rapporteur on North Macedonia MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk extended an important visit to Skopje. The visit happened just a month before the decisive European Council, during which the Member states are expected to give the “green light” for starting the EU accession talks with North Macedonia.

“After the European Commission published its strategy for the Western Balkans in early 2018, it was expected that it would provide a new impetus for the European enlargement process. Alas, it did not work out and in contrast, 2019 became the year of “disappointment with enlargement.” 2020 finally has the opportunity to respond to the European aspirations of the people of the Western Balkans”, Ilhan Kyuchyuk said to the media in North Macedonia. “The new methodology aims precisely at that –  to restart the process by making it more predictable and dynamic rather than bureaucratic”, he added.

 “That is also why the Renew Europe Group is here today, in the center of Skopje, to firmly state that we stand in favour of the future EU enlargement and full integration of the Western Balkans into the European family,” Kyuchyuk said.

He underlined that there shouldn’t be any unpleasant surprises  at the last moment before the forthcoming European Council in March and that the accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should get a start. “Otherwise, the trust between the EU and the region would be damaged for a long time,” stressed the Standing Rapporteur for North Macedonia.

According to the leader of Renw Europe at the European Parliament, Dacian Ciolos, the start of accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania should happen as soon as possible and before the May Summit in Zagreb.

“There is no doubt that since 2017, North Macedonia has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to the European path. The Prespa Agreement and the Treaty of Friendship with Bulgaria are very signals in this direction. The historical significance of these agreements goes beyond the opening of negotiations. These are examples across the region that history can be healed and that a common future can be built through readiness for compromise”, Ciolos said in Skopje. The MEPs’ visits included meetings with President Stevo Pendarovski, the Interim Prime Minister – Oliver Spasovski, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi, leaders of major political parties and civil society in the country.