In an interview with Radio Free Europe, Italian Ambassador to Macedonia Carlo Romeo says that this country will continue to insist that Macedonia should open EU accession talks only in a package with Albania. This makes it far more difficult for Macedonia to secure the opening of accession talks, given that Albania faces stronger opposition, most notably from Holland.

Romeo says that Macedonia should not expect a decision to open accession talks at the coming EU meeting in Zagreb in May, but could receive the recommendation as early as March.

The position of Italy hasn’t changed. Our position is very clear, Italy supports opening of negotiations with both countries, “North” Macedonia and Albania. Already in the European Council last year there were very few countries which were in favor of this so-called decoupling, so there was a very overwhelming majority started by the European Commission in favor of opening negotiations with both countries, Romeo said.

Romeo warns that if the opening of accession talks continues to be denied, Macedonia could face risks to its stability and the stability of the region, as frustrations continue to mount.