News & Analysis

EU enlargement commissioner praises North Macedonia

European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn has suggested that North Macedonia might soon assume Serbia’s position as the leading candidate country for EU membership.

“In the European Commission’s strategy for the Western Balkans, we have clearly stated that we will accept new members only if they do not have bilateral conflicts. We are not ready to import conflicts,” said Mr Hahn.

He praised the example of North Macedonia, which has managed to solve a decades-long bilateral issue with neighbouring Greece, making the country more stable than other parts of the region. He also emphasised North Macedonia’s political stability, saying that opposition forces in the country are ready for dialogue, which would be beneficial “in other countries of the region, as well”.

“We started negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro, and currently these countries are formally the most advanced on this road, but this does not exclude the possibility that North Macedonia will succeed in compensating for the lag,” Mr Hahn said.