This is an awakening moment for Europe, a moment to reinvigorate the enlargement process to anchor the Western Balkan countries firmly in the European Union, Josep Borrell, European Commission Vice-President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said Monday in Skopje.

I know you have certain expectations and rightly so. We need to start formal negotiations for the accession of Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible and I hope that will be possible at the next intergovernmental conference, he said.

After the meeting with Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski, Borrell stressed that Macedonia and the entire region are a strategic priority and the EU is committed to making the European perspective a reality for these countries.

Borrell commended the “new impetus” between Macedonia and Bulgaria, stressing that he urges both sides to find mutually acceptable solutions and resolve bilateral issues because “enlargement cannot continue if it is hampered by bilateral issues”.

In parallel, reforms in the rule of law, the fight against corruption, digital transformation and the green agenda will enable rapid progress towards negotiations. All actors should work together to advance the European reform agenda as the fastest way for the country to move forward on the European path, the senior European official said.