The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has waited a long time for an opportunity to join the European Union and NATO, the country's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in his first ever a speech at the European Parliament on Thursday.
“This is an opportunity that we have waited for a long time,” he told MEPs.
Zaev said the referendum called in FYROM on September 30 is not just about the Prespa Agreement – the deal agreed with Greece earlier this year on the country's name – but also about the country's “second independence.”
He described the deal as “dignified”, noting it will help the country escape its “problematic status quo.”
Zaev praised the agreement with Greece, saying it will serve as an example for settling all bilateral issues in the Western Balkans.
“A successful Balkans is one integrated in the EU. This vision has motivated us to make the historic step and stimulate processes of reconciliation, building unity and alliances in the region,” he told MEPs.