Prime Minister Kovachevski said the EU needs to take a decision "soon" for a clear perspective as the stability of the Western Balkans depends on it.
The European Union does not keep promises, despite support from member states, the prime minister of North Macedonian said.
Dimitar Kovachevski's remarks came at the Prespa Dialogue Forum held in Ohrid in the southwestern part of the country on Friday.
The leaders of the region’s states gathered for a three-day forum in the tourist city to strengthen cooperation.
"Despite the wide support from the member states, the EU does not keep its promises for an obstacle. I, and the citizens of the country, are really grateful for the support. We continue to work for the Europeanisation of the general system in the country. We apply European democratic and social values at our place. We are part of the European family and We share the same values,'' Kovachevski said during a panel discussion.
Recalling that North Macedonia made difficult decisions for NATO and EU membership, including the signing of the Prespa Agreement, which resolved the name issue with Greece, Kovachevski said although NATO membership was a completed issue, his country's European integration was blocked.
At a different panel, Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani emphasized that the Western Balkans border EU member states, so the correct word to use should be the completion of the EU, not its enlargement.
"The EU needs to take a decision soon. Clear positions are needed for a clear perspective. The stability of the Western Balkans depends on it. If the messages of recent years are repeated, it will be a false and harmful signal. The Western Balkans, as the closest region, is very important for Europe and in the continuation of the dramatic events in Ukraine, Europe is in danger,'' said Osmani.
As Open Balkan initiative, founded by three Balkan countries - Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia, aims to improve economic and regional co-operation, many see it as a snub to the EU's slow integration process. #AcrossTheBalkans asks why.— TRT World (@trtworld) June 16, 2022
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'Western Balkans belongs to Europe'
EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, in a video message to the panel, said the EU includes the Western Balkans in their crisis-softening policies and reducing dependency on Russian fossil fuels.
"Regional cooperation with our partners in the Western Balkans is a geostrategic and geopolitical choice of the European Union. The Western Balkans belongs to Europe. European Union leaders unilaterally reaffirm the open support of the EU for the European perspective of the Western Balkans,'' he said.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic described the EU's Western Balkan policy as a rolling stone.
''It is not enlargement but the rolling of the EU,'' said Brnabic.
She emphasized that the Western Balkans' accession to the EU is a strategic issue that needs to be implemented as soon as possible.
"This issue is very important to us as Serbia. Because the entire region's progress toward the EU is extremely important for regional security, peace, stability, and economic and political prosperity," she said.
The Prespa Forum Dialogue is a platform created by North Macedonia to enable countries, leaders, organisations, experts and citizens to strengthen cooperation.