The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will visit Skopje on Monday, to discuss the necessary reforms and additional funds that we should receive as aid from the EU and motivation for the reforms and obligations we need to fulfil to complete this phase of accession and move to opening the cluster and thereby announce closing of screening, Deputy PM for European Affairs Bojan Marichikj told MIA wrapping up his working visit to Brussels.
“I want to mention that Berlin Process Summit was held last week in Tirana, where the President of the European Commission was also present. There, she announced that he would tour the Western Balkans. That tour starts right here, from Skopje, from North Macedonia, and I think that will be a good signal,” Marichikj said.
According to him, she is expected to announce the EC progress reports on candidate countries, which is scheduled to be released on November 8, as well as to present the basic features of the EU Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, which should be published by the end of this year.
“It is a plan that enables us to implement some EU policies in our countries even before membership. So it’s kind of an integration before membership. It is a plan that should give us more chances for our young people, for our business community and a plan that should give us more chances for institutions and citizens before joining the EU,” Marichikj said.
According to him, taking all this into account, as well as the results of the talks he had during his stay in Brussels, now as never before the issue of EU enlargement is a topical issue in the Union.
“As never before, we will be given a chance for more money, according to this Growth Plan, if we make more reforms. That is one of the main principles, more money for more reforms,” Marichikj said.
He noted that the screening process is expected to be completed in the first week of December, after which we will only work on the reports for each cluster.
“The screening process is a very important operation for us and a very useful exercise that gave us a picture of where we are, what we have done, what are our achievements so far, but also what we need to do,” Marichikj said.
However, according to him, in order to keep pace with Albania, as well as with other candidate countries, we will have to implement the constitutional amendments.
“Every day of delay regarding the constitutional amendments, is a day of loss for North Macedonia, a day of loss for our citizens. For the first time, we have a real opportunity to discuss EU enlargement by 2030. All messages point to the fact that the European Commission is preparing a plan that will enable those countries that are ready, that will make the necessary reforms, to join the EU in 2030. It is our commitment to be part of those countries, and that is possible only if all political actors and all MPs take responsibility and make the necessary decisions,” Marichikj added.
Deputy PM Marichikj during his visit to Brussels took part at the Global Gateway Forum where he addressed a debate entitled “Stronger Together Through Sustainable Investment”, MIA reports from Brussels.
Marichikj also held bilateral meetings with European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi, Director General at the Directorate General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Gert Jan Koopman, and European Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, and with Deputy Managing Director of the European External Action Service for the Western Balkans (EEAS), Marko Makovec, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and Foreign Policy Advisor of the President of the European Council, Simon Mordue.
In addition, Deputy PM Marichikj held a briefing with the working group of the Working Party on Enlargement and Countries Negotiating Accession to the EU (COELA), and a working meeting with Acting Director for the Western Balkans at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Michela Matuella.