North Macedonia’s MFA Osmani against decoupling of North Macedonia and Albania

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North Macedonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani said during an interview with Franko Egro on Balkan Talks, a show dealing with regional issues airing weekly on Euronews Albania, that North Macedonia and Albania should continue together in their bid  to start negotiations with the European Union.

“Theoretically, if Bulgaria doesn’t remove the veto for years to come as Greece did with North Macedonia, Albania should not be kept hostage, but should they separate? I think not and the EU thinks so too. Albania should not, and in fact, it doesn’t have the ambition to separate, because it knows that these are cyclic processes and that if we are in this together, we can create new dynamics and help each other out ”, said North Macedonia’s MFA.

Although the country’s bid to the EU began 16 years ago, Osmani said that they will continue with their efforts as EU integration is the “only alternative”.

“Despite everything, I believe that the future generation’s interest in becoming a part of the European family is greater than the frustrations of our generation”, Osmani said.

The foreign minister asserted that he is disbelieved by Bulgaria’s stance in the last two years after relations between both countries improved in 2017.

“What happened after two years, deteriorating relations without any warning found us unprepared, and also surprised EU member states”, said Osmani, adding that they are working on gaining back the trust achieved with the 2017 agreement.

Furthermore, he reiterated the importance that regional cooperation has ahead of EU integration.

“Cooperation is the main test for the region as it shows whether our countries know how to integrate with one another. This form of cooperation needs to be fostered as much as possible, as well as removing administrative barriers and sealing a culture of cooperation which will be imperative tomorrow in the EU”, he said.

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