After the decision to open accession negotiations, the Chair of the European Parliament's Delegation to the EU-North Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee Andreas Schieder (S&D, AT) said:

"It is with great pleasure that I congratulate North Macedonia and all its citizens on this much-awaited decision. This is excellent news for the region and for the whole European Union, and is a much-needed signal of unity and coordinated action in these difficult times.

The European Commission and the Council confirm that North Macedonia meets all conditions to start accession negotiations. The country has delivered tangible and sustainable results in its reform efforts, including by finding agreement on the name issue and by enacting the necessary constitutional changes, as well as adopting the crucial Law on the Public Prosecutor's office before the dissolution of the Parliament. We are very pleased, therefore, that no additional conditions have been set for the country ahead of the first intergovernmental conference.

Members of the European Parliament delegation to the EU-North Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee are keen to restart our inter-parliamentary dialogue as soon as the Sobranie delegation is constituted after the upcoming parliamentary elections. While it is regrettable that the elections need to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 emergency, we remain confident that, together, we will be able to face this global challenge. The EU is ready to support the Western Balkans with emergency aid for health care systems and contribute to the region's socio-economic recovery.

We will continue to support North Macedonia on its way to becoming a full member of the European Union and look forward to our fruitful and constructive parliamentary dialogue."

Background

North Macedonia submitted its membership application in 2004 and became a candidate for accession to the EU in 2005. Accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia were expected to begin in October 2019, but were blocked by several EU member states. On 26 March, heads of state or government endorsed the Council's decision to open accession negotiations.