Pendarovski: If we insist on solving bilateral disputes first, then no country of the Western Balkans will ever join the EU

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Over the past three years, we have had a serious disbalance between the traditional EU accession criteria and the settlement of bilateral disputes, because the Bulgaria row has unfortunately blanketed the traditional accession agenda, said Macedonian President StevoPendarovski on Monday.

President Pendarovski held a joint press conference with Slovenian and Croatian counterpoarts, Natasha PircMusar and ZoranMilanovic respectively, after the leaders meeting within the Brdo-Brijuni Process in Skopje.

Pendarovski said there has been a rather big misbalance in this regard when it comes to North Macedonia.

“We are clear with the fact that the so-called regional clause or goodneighborly relations must be met. In regard to our path until now, it is clear there has been a rather large disbalance between the traditional EU accession criteria and bilateral relations with at least two of our neighbors, while over the past three years the bilateral problem with Bulgaria has blanketed the entire traditional accession agenda. We hope this will change soon because if we insist on solving purely bilateral disputes first, especially if they are based on history and emotions, then no country of the Western Balkans will ever join the EU,” said the Macedonian head of state.

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