Macedonia is not allowed to open EU accession talks because of the high level of crime and corruption, said VMRO-DPMNE Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski in an interview with the Macedonian Radio. The issue of corruption is coming again to the fore after the Transparency International report found that Macedonia dropped to a historic low – 111th in the world – in fighting corruption.

We need to be clear that Bulgaria is not the only reason why Macedonia can’t open accession talks. The reason is the lack of reforms and the corruption. it’s simple, the decision is made with consensus of EU member states if the EU states were really convinced that Macedonia is so far advanced under Zoran Zaev and should open accession talks, they would’ve found a way to convince Bulgaria to back off. But the fact that nobody does that clearly shows that other countries also do not agree with the proposal to open EU accession talks with Macedonia, not because of historic issues between our countries but because of the state Macedonia is in, Nikoloski said.

The TI report prompted even the US Embassy to publicly raise the issue. Dozens of corruption scandals, some of them significant in their scope, have hit the Zaev regime over the past several years. While the judiciary is very active in initiating politically motivated cases against VMRO-DPMNE officials, Zaev and his lieutenants are shielded from any scrutiny.