On his first visit outside the EU, President David Sassoli reiterated EP`s support for the start of accession talks.

The President of the European Parliament has addressed the Parliament in Skopje today with a message of encouragement after the Council’s failure to agree on the opening of accession talks in October. President Sassoli reiterated the European Parliament`s strong support for the start of negotiations. During his visit in North Macedonia, Sassoli stressed his conviction that the recent setback is just a pause on the way towards negotiations.

“In Skopje, I have seen that citizens are deeply worried because of the current stalemate, and I fully understand this. We share your disappointment. However, I strongly encourage you not to lose hope. This is not the end of the road. This is just a hurdle that we will soon overcome. North Macedonia is a shining example of political maturity in the Western Balkans, which will eventually be acknowledged. I hope the country will not be discouraged but use this break to continue on the bold reform path they have embarked upon,” said the President of the European Parliament.

“In my discussions in North Macedonia, I stressed that there is an overwhelming majority in Europe that is in favour of the start of negotiations – across all institutions. I am confident that we will also convince the few member states who still had some reservations at the last Council meeting. The accession process will benefit North Macedonia but also the EU. I met young people during my visit who are deeply passionate about Europe and who share our values of equality, human rights, and the rule of law. We must not disappoint these people. They belong in our family and they will enrich it. We have a common destiny.”

On his first visit outside the European Union in his capacity as EP President, Sassoli also met the Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev, President Stevo Pendarovski, the President of the Parliament of North Macedonia, Talat Xhaferi, as well as representatives of the political parties in Parliament. He also had a debate with young people from North Macedonia on Europe and their country`s future.