In an interview with Alfa TV, VMRO-DPMNE deputy president Aleksandar Nikoloski says that the expectations from the European Council are bleak and that it is unlikely that Macedonia will be decoupled from Albania. Keeping the two countries in a group would make it all but impossible for Macedonia to open EU accession talks next week.

The best Macedonia can hope for is a lot of conditions, and once they are met, to open the actual accession talks in a year and half or two. The decision for the date is being pushed for mid next year, Nikoloski said, adding that it is not just France but other EU member states as well that oppose the accession talks.

Nikoloski blamed the Zaev regime for giving way too much material to the opponents of EU accession to ask for a postponement, citing the major racketeering scandal and the pervasive corruption.

I was told that there will be no decoupling from Albania because even then we would see both countries vetoed. Major member states believe that Macedonia has not delivered on the reforms and is now sadly at the same level with Edi Rama’s Albania, Nikoloski added.

Nikoloski calls for early elections which, he adds, may help Macedonia decouple from Albania, open the accession talks in 2020, and begin to heal from the harmful effects of the treaties Zaev signed with Greece and Bulgaria.