North Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev today announced early elections following the European Union’s refusal to open accession negotiations with the Balkan country, a plan that was at the heart of his policy.
“I propose a swift election that will allow you, the citizens, to show the way to go,” he said in a televised speech following the humiliating European denial.
After long discussions, European leaders, at yesterday’s second day of the summit in Brussels, found a deadlock in the start of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania by some member states. France, the Netherlands, and Denmark have opposed the start of these negotiations, which requires unanimity.
“We are victims of a historic mistake by the EU,” Zaef noted in his speech, echoing statements by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other high-ranking officials in Brussels who supported the opening of negotiations and regretted the outcome.
“I’m frustrated and outraged and I know that all the people feel the same way,” Zaef added.
He said he would meet with President Stevo Pendarovski and other political leaders tomorrow Sunday to discuss the next steps.
A Social Democrat who came to power in 2017, Zaev has invested all his political capital in putting North Macedonia on the EU accession rails.
The announcement comes to an end to the political thriller that has been unfolding in recent hours in Skopje.
Zaev had announced the snap elections yesterday, with all reports suggesting that there would be a meeting of the country’s political leaders over the weekend.