North Macedonia: path to EU membership clear?
Shortly after the settlement of the name dispute with Greece North Macedonia's prospects of joining Nato are very good. Now that the accession protocol has been signed the government in Skopje can send observers to almost all of the alliance's briefings and conferences. In view of these developments the next step is just a matter of time, journalists are sure.
Out of the grey zone
The new name North Macedonia heralds the country's integration into the Western alliance system, Ukrayinska Pravda comments:
“Despite Russia's strong resistance Macedonia will finally become a full member of Nato member this year. And negotiations for EU accession could start as early as this summer. Already in the next days the country will change its name and notify the governments of all member states and the UN of the change. The possibility that some countries won't use the new name on principle can't be ruled out. Turkey probably won't, just to spite Greece and Russia, which deems the name change illegal, neither. But essentially this won't change a thing - the Balkan country has escaped from a 'grey zone' and is now becoming part of the Western world.”
Bulgaria opening doors
At a meeting in Sofia on Monday Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his North Macedonian counterpart Zaev decided to abolish import duties between their countries. Bulgaria is paving the way for North Macedonia to join the EU, writes news.bg in delight:
“After the abolishment of EU visa requirements, eliminating customs duties would be the second most useful achievement for North Macedonia. Once the barriers for people have been removed it's only logical that the barriers for goods fall away too. ... Bulgaria can now be seen as a trailblazer, because it is promoting the Sofia-Skopje axis even before the Skopje-Brussels axis has emerged. Behind the move is the desire to see North Macedonia's path to the EU lead through Bulgaria.”