The progression of Macedonia’s European integration hinges on the timely adoption of constitutional changes, a decision that remains within the country’s sovereignty. The European Union is hopeful that these changes can be swiftly implemented, allowing Macedonia to harness the current momentum of the enlargement process and advance decisively along its European path. EU Ambassador David Geer emphasized this during his visit to the Municipality of Shuto Orizari.

These constitutional changes stem from a bilateral agreement with Bulgaria and were a pivotal part of the broader agreement reached in July 2022. They provide Macedonia with the opportunity to advance on its European journey by commencing accession negotiations, which have already undergone a screening process.

The next phase of this process depends on the country’s ability to adopt these constitutional changes, a decision that lies with the country’s Parliament. This is a sovereign matter, and the EU will not automatically make further decisions until this step is taken.

Ambassador Geer acknowledged the impact of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine on the enlargement process, creating a unique opportunity for countries in the region to rapidly progress toward EU membership. He expressed his hope that Macedonia would move forward with the constitutional changes, emphasizing the EU’s eagerness to see the country join the EU as quickly as possible while implementing necessary reforms.

When questioned about President Stevo Pendarovski’s statement regarding the timing of constitutional amendments, Ambassador Geer refrained from commenting and reiterated the EU’s desire to see these changes made promptly to leverage the current momentum on Macedonia’s European path.

Regarding the proposal to hold presidential and parliamentary elections simultaneously at the request of the opposition bloc, Ambassador Geer stated that this is a matter for political parties to discuss, with the government calling elections once a consensus is reached.

On the topic of the screening process, Ambassador Geer praised the government’s efforts, commending their engagement and work in this regard.

In terms of the EU’s peer review of the Judicial Council, Ambassador Geer mentioned that the report and recommendations were forthcoming but provided no specific details, highlighting the productive and transparent nature of meetings with stakeholders.

This visit was part of a series of town hall visits by the EU Delegation, aiming to inform citizens about the new steps in the EU accession negotiations process and their impact on everyday life. During the visit to Shuto Orizari, Ambassador Geer met with local officials, including the Mayor, members of the Municipal Council, and representatives of civil society organizations. He also inspected one of the houses renovated under the EU-funded “Enhancing Sustainable Urban Development of Roma Communities” project.