I call on all political actors to work constructively to achieve this goal and not to jeopardize the progress made due to party-political considerations, said EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn told Macedonian politicians in an interview with EurActiv.

He says that Macedonia has made the most progress in the past year by overcoming the deep political crisis by democratic means.

“The country has made considerable progress in implementing the Przino Agreement and reform priorities under the new, reform-oriented and pro-European government. Particularly noteworthy are the efforts of the government under Prime Minister Zaev for good neighborly relations. After the friendship treaty with Bulgaria, finally after 27 years of futile efforts under UN mediation, the name dispute between Skopje and Athens has been settled. This historical agreement marks a significant step towards the realization of the country’s Euro-Atlantic perspective”, says Han, referring to the country as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

He recalls that the success of the agreement till requires a referendum.

“I therefore call on all political actors to work constructively to achieve this goal and not to jeopardize the progress made due to party-political considerations. It is about the future of this country, therefore the referendum on the agreement with Greece and the new name should be carried out as soon as possible. The ratification and a successful referendum are essential steps on the way towards NATO- and EU-membership”, emphasizes EU Commissioner Hahn.

Asked if 2025, which is listed as the year for the EU’s possible enlargement strategy, is too far for countries that want to be part of the Union, Hahn points out that this indicative date is not too far away because the reforms to adapt to EU standards take a long time. He says that it is not just about legislative changes , but also about their actual application.