EU commissioner eyes launch of accession talks with North Macedonia in June


European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn welcomed the election of Stevo Pendarovski as North Macedonia's new president, noting that EU accession talks for the Balkan country will begin in June.

In a post on Twitter, Hahn said he looked forward to continued cooperation with North Macedonian authorities "on the EU reform agenda in view of last year's Council conclusions setting the path toward opening accession negotiations in June 2019"

"North Macedonia can count on the EU’s continued support for its EU accession perspective, thus responding to the strong European aspirations of its people," he wrote.

Skopje took a big step towards securing its accession to both NATO and the EU when it ratified an agreement with Athens to change the former Yugoslav republic's name to North Macedonia.

Pendarovski, the candidate of the center-left government that passed the name change, replaces outgoing President Gjorge Ivanov, a conservative who had opposed the deal.