Skopje, 14 March 2022 (TDI): European Union’s (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell urged for the Western Balkans to be “firmly anchored” in the EU.

He said that Brussels needed to “reinvigorate” the expansion process and get it started as soon as possible. The European Commission’s geopolitical priority is to begin discussions with Northern Macedonia and Albania.

As said by Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, the union would continue discussions with Bulgaria to seek its consent for Skopje’s EU membership.

During a visit to the city of northern Macedonia on Monday, he stated, “We will continue to negotiate (with Bulgaria) until this issue is handled.” To enhance security and defense in the Balkans, he believes the EU should begin formal accession negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania as soon as feasible.

“Northern Macedonia, as well as the entire area, is a strategic priority for us. We are dedicated to bringing the European vision to life,” Borel stated. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began last month, provides an opportunity, according to a top EU official, to “revive the EU’s expansion process.”

He also stated that steps to strengthen the Western Balkans’ security and defense will be considered. “I hope Europe is reawakening at this time.” The moment has come to reconsider the expansion process in order to properly tie the Western Balkans to the EU, he stated.

Dimitar Kovačevski, Prime Minister of North Macedonia also emphasized the relevance of the EU’s expansion into the Western Balkans and the admission of northern Macedonia to the bloc.

“My colleague, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, and I have established new principles of interaction, friendship bridges, new prospects, and linkages between the two nations. This is the proper method for resolving the conflict,” Dimitar Kovačevski added in his comment.

Sofia and Skopje are at odds over linguistic concerns, the two nations’ shared history, and the Constitution of Northern Macedonia’s protection of Macedonian Bulgarians’ rights.

Bulgaria opposed the commencement of EU membership discussions for Northern Macedonia in 2020. Since the formation of five working groups and the signing of many memorandums, both administrations have been focused on restoring bilateral relations between the two Balkan republics.