German Ambassador to Macedonia Anke Holstein in an interview with Deutsche Welle said she expects the country’s membership talks with the EU to begin soon, pointing out that official Berlin didn’t support any alternatives to the full integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union.
According to Ambassador Holstein, a strong confirmation of this was that the new Minister of State for Europe at the German Foreign Ministry, Anna Lührmann, is welcoming Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs of North Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov as her first foreign guest.
She told Deutsche Welle the coalition agreement of the new German government led by Olaf Scholz included clear guidelines for continuing support to the Western Balkans and specific guidelines regarding Macedonia.
“We support the EU accession process of the six Western Balkan countries and their necessary reforms to meet all the Copenhagen criteria,” Ambassador Holstein said, adding that Germany has also supported the strengthening of civil society and progress toward the country’s EU membership.
“The next step,” she added, citing the agreement, “is opening the first chapters with North Macedonia and Albania.”
In the coalition agreement, she noted, the Western Balkans is part of the EU and there is no alternative to the membership of these countries into the Union.
Regarding the Bulgarian blockade, the German ambassador said that Germany, even under the leadership of Angela Merkel, had done everything in its power to clear the country’s path to the EU, which she highlighted was a community of states governed by the principle of consensus.
The new federal government of Olaf Scholz, as well, would have unwavering support for North Macedonia, Holstein said.
“Germany and the European Commission, as well as almost all member states, are working hard toward the accession negotiations’ prompt start, and we all know what the stakes are,” Holstein told Deutsche Welle.