The Latvian Foreign Minister expresses strong support for opening EU accession talks with North Macedonia

04.03.2020. 16:55

On 3-4 March 2020, the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Jacek Czaputowicz; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius; and the Undersecretary for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Märt Volmer, visited Skopje, where meetings took place with senior officials of North Macedonia.

In a discussion with the President of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, Edgars Rinkēvičs pointed out that the joint visit of the Baltic and Polish Foreign Ministers is a strong pledge of the European perspective to North Macedonia.

The timing of the visit is particularly appropriate in view of updated progress report on North Macedonia published by the European Commission on 2 March, which repeats the recommendations, already given in May 2019, that EU accession negotiations should be opened. EU enlargement is a process based on meeting specific criteria, and therefore, North Macedonia has earned an invitation to EU accession negotiations in the near future, said the Latvian Foreign Minister. He noted that the country has fulfilled the tasks set by the Council of the EU and demonstrated credible commitment in moving ahead with reforms. The opening of accession talks will only be the first step on the long path of transformation. Launching accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania is a strong and credible acknowledgement of the European perspective not only to those two countries but also to the Western Balkans region as a whole, Minister Rinkēvičs underlined.

The Foreign Ministers also met with the North Macedonian Prime Minister, Oliver Spasovski, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Dimitrov. North Macedonia is aspiring to join NATO in the near future.

The Ministers discussed recent foreign policy developments with students at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.

From 4 March to 5 March, Edgars Rinkēvičs will continue on the joint visit by the Baltic and Polish Foreign Ministers and also go to Albania.


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