On Wednesday, 9 May, Michael Roth will travel to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where he will meet Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov and Aleksandar Nikoloski, Vice President of the opposition party VMRO, as well as civil society representatives and young people, among others. On 11 May he will travel on to Albania. Here, too, his schedule includes talks with Prime Minister Edi Rama and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati as well as members of the opposition and civil society.
Minister of State Roth’s trip comes shortly after the recommendation of the EU Commission that accession negotiations be opened with both countries (17 April). The focus of the talks will therefore be on the implementation of reforms in the two EU candidate countries. Minister of State Roth issued the following statement today (9 May) before embarking on his trip to Skopje and Tirana:
The governments in Skopje and Tirana have set significant reforms in motion. This shows that they are serious about moving closer to the European Union. These reforms are not always easy and entail severe cuts for both the government and the people.
With its recommendation that accession negotiations be opened, the EU Commission has recognised the considerable efforts made by the countries in recent weeks and months.
Skopje and Tirana cannot now afford to relax their efforts, and I will make this very clear during our talks. At the same time it is important to show the countries that their efforts have been acknowledged. That is another purpose of my visit.