US official voices hope North Macedonia will proceed with EU membership bid

Gabriel Escobar, U.S. Deputy Assistant of the State for Balkan policy, left and North Macedonia's Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski, right, attend a joint news conference at the Government building in Skopje, North Macedonia, on Friday, Aug. 25. 2023. [Boris Grdanoski/AP]

A senior US State Department official on Friday voiced hope that North Macedonia will be able to approve politically difficult constitutional changes that would help its bid to join the European Union.

Gabriel Escobar, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Balkan policy, said during talks in the capital Skopje that the US strongly backs the country's EU accession bid.

North Macedonia has agreed, following pressure from neighboring EU member Bulgaria, to amend its constitution and include Bulgarians in a long list of ethnic groups formally listed as living in the country.

But while Parliament started the amendment process last week, it looks unlikely that it will be completed due to strong reactions from the conservative main opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE.

Following talks with North Macedonia's Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski, Escobar said he was "very excited...

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