Wednesday

28th Jul 2021

Snap elections in North Macedonia after EU rejection

  • North Macedonia's prime minister Zoran Zaev and EU Council president Donald Tusk called the decision to delay accession talks "a historical mistake" (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

North Macedonia's prime minister Zoran Zaev has called early elections after the European Union refused to start accession talks with the country.

Following the call, the president of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, invited all party leaders for a meeting on Sunday (20 October) afternoon, where all agreed to hold elections on 12 April - eight months before the normal end of the term.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

According to the law, prime minister Zaev and his government will now step down and will be replaced by a caretaker government of technicians and representatives of the opposition.

"We have a clear state consensus of all political leaders, that despite the decision of the European Council ... the Republic of North Macedonia should start negotiations [with the EU] as soon as possible," Pendarovski said after the meeting.

The European Council decided on Thursday (17 October) to delay the promised start of talks with North Macedonia to join the bloc after a veto by French president Emmanuel Macron.

According to Macron, the EU should reform its current way of working first and make sure it will be able to handle another financial crisis before it decides on another enlargement.

"We need a reformed European Union and a reformed enlargement process, a real credibility and a strategic vision of who we are and our role," Macron said at a press conference.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte used similar words after the European Council meeting in order to explain why The Netherlands was blocking accession talks for Albania - the other Balkan country that had been promised to open accession talks this year.

"Historical mistake"

After the EU decision, prime minister Zaev said: "We are the victims of a historical mistake".

His words echoed those of European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and other European leaders.

"It's not a failure, it's a mistake. I feel really embarrassed," EU council president Donald Tusk said after the summit .

Earlier on, the commission and the European Parliament had agreed to start accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania saying that both countries had made sufficient progress on reform.

North Macedonia, which had been called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom) had also made a historic agreement with Greece to change its name after decades of political stalemate.

"I am disappointed and angry and I know that the entire population feels this way," Zaev said when he announced the early elections.

EU fails to deliver on Albania and North Macedonia

Denmark, France and the Netherlands opposed opening talks on EU accession with Albania and North Macedonia in a blow that may invite greater Russian influence in the Balkan region.

EU enlargement freeze prompts Serbia rethink

The president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, said the Balkan region needs to take care of itself after the EU blocked enlargement talks with North Macedonia and Albania.

Opinion

Montenegro's membership can inspire the European Dream

Today (15 December) I come to Brussels with a simple purpose: to present the credentials of my country, Montenegro, to become the next member state of the European Union, writes prime minister Zdravko Krivokapic.

Interview

Does North Macedonia really exist?

Its language and history give North Macedonia its identity for president Stevo Pendarovski, but, for Bulgaria, neither of them are real, in a dispute holding up EU enlargement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU hits vaccination target, as Delta variant now dominates
  2. European arms 'displaced over a million people', research finds
  3. Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?
  4. US maintains summer travel ban on EU tourists
  5. Does democracy need troublemakers?
  6. Separating migrant families at EU borders must stop
  7. Germany mulls restrictions for unvaccinated as cases soar
  8. 'Prison island' birthplace of EU reborn as think-tank venue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us