President Pendarovski reversed his position that Macedonia needs to reject membership in the European Economic Area. In an interview with the state run MIA news agency, Pendarovski said that Macedonia can accept membership in the EEA, but only if that doesn’t detract from full EU membership.
Pendarovski recently shocked the public when he revealed that he was offered EEA membership by top European leaders but said no thanks. He justified his response by insisting that, once in the EEA, European countries may declare the issue of integration over and lose interest in bringing Macedonia closer to the EU and the country would lose out on valuable political clout in Brussels. But faced a never ending list of vetoes that revolve around humiliating conditions from neighboring countries, the public response was that EEA membership will bring most of the EU benefits but without the national humiliation dished out every day.
My position is that we should not be denied EU membership as a perspective, in the future. We want to join the EEA today, but not on an either-or basis. It should be EU and EEA, Pendarovski said.
He made his remark after the German FAZ paper quoted powerful European Parliament member Elmar Brok telling Balkan countries to take the EEA offer.