North Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has deplored the European Union’s failure to give the Balkan country a date to start talks on joining the bloc despite an agreement with Greece on the name issue, while warning of a return to nationalism that could potentially be dangerous for Europe.
In an interview with Euronews published on Wednesday, Zaev, who recently warned that part of the so-called Prespes accord signed with Greece could be at risk, suggested that the EU snub felt like a betrayal.
“We changed our name, we changed our constitution, we got the majority in a process of 120 days, a very painful process because there were a lot of threats by the nationalists and radicals in our country, and after that the message [from Europe] was: ‘OK, you are ready,’ but now we are not ready. Really, we can wait but it's a big disappointment for us,” Zaev told Euronews.
"We changed everything in the country. We changed all signs in our public institutions, signs with all our neighbors in the airports, in our documentation, websites, everything,” said Zaev, adding that delaying the process played in the hands of nationalists.
“I'm afraid very much. If there is positive soil for nationalism and radicalism to rise again, it will mean big damage to the whole Balkans. And when the Balkans have a problem, Europe has a problem,” he said.