If the European Union really wants to be a transformative power, it must decide to start negotiations with North Macedonia. This decision is important not only for the future of the country but also for the future of Europe. In order for Balkan countries to enjoy stability and development to continue democratic and economic reforms, the door to the European Union must be open rather than closed. When they enter the open door, it will depend on each country’s readiness for reconciliation, on the implementation of the necessary reforms and its preparation to “bear” membership of the European Union. This means putting a “strict but fair” conditionality, as well as that all participants in this process should do their job.
In this complex process, the actions of the European Union must be based on three main pillars: predictability, trust, keeping the promises. These three pillars are currently too fragile to maintain the overall construction of European Union – Northern Macedonia relations. Perhaps everyone will agree that the country has made important and significant steps in the right direction. Now is the time for the European Union to show courage and wisdom. But in the case when we say the European Union, we need to understand the Member States. The European Commission is clear in its assessment, but the decision has to be taken by the Member States. Some of them have clear and firm positions that negotiations with North Macedonia should begin, but others hide themselves behind diplomatic arguments and postpone this important decision.
Postponement is devastating! Disappointed pro-Europeans turn into Eurosceptics. Do not kill the desire for European integration in North Macedonia! The history will judge you!
Prof. Ingrid Shikova