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SKOPJE (North Macedonia), October 21 (SeeNews) – North Macedonia’s prime minister Zoran Zaev said he has decided to call early general elections, after European Union leaders failed to agree on opening accession negotiations with the Western Balkan country.
The snap vote for members of parliament will be held on April 12 after the main political parties reached a consensus at a meeting called by the president Stevo Pendarovski, Zaev said in a press release on Sunday.
“With all the responsibility I decided to seek a new, full and clear mandate to continue down the road we have taken,” Zaev said, adding that the decision of the European Council not to open accession talks with North Macedonia is a “historical mistake.”
The European Union leaders failed to live up to their commitment to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said on Friday.
“This is a matter of extreme disappointment. The EU and member states now need to clarify how serious their commitment is to the Western Balkans’ EU integration,” Hahn said in a Twitter post after a European Council meeting on October 18.
“The responsibility for this failure is not with Albania and North Macedonia who hoped rightly for a positive decision. They delivered! It was the EU which failed to deliver because of internal issues. This damages the EU’s credibility not only in the Western Balkans but beyond,” Hahn noted, adding that this is not a moment of glory for the EU.
The European Council will revert to the issue before the EU-Western Balkans summit in Zagreb in May, it said in its conclusions.
The European Council granted the status of candidate country for EU membership to Albania in 2014 and to North Macedonia in 2005.