In an interview with the Croatian Jutarnji List daily, SDSM – DUI presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski acknowledged that Macedonia is still far away from joining the European Union. Macedonia expects to receive a positive recommendation to open accession talks this summer, with the Greek veto presumably out of the way, but countries like France and the Netherlands could remain opposed.

We are still far from full EU membership. This will be a major diplomatic challenge and we will accomplish our reforms in an offensive mode and we will catch up with Serbia and Montenegro, who expect to join the EU in 2025, said Pendarovski.

In the interview, Pendarovski condemned the idea of territorial swaps between Serbia and Kosovo, saying that it would certainly spark calls for similar border changes in Macedonia and in Bosnia. “Unfortunately, I’m one of the few politicians in the Balkans who speak publicly against this idea, as the worst thing I’ve heard in the past decade”, Pendarovski said.