Latest News from Macedonia
The decision was not reached despite all night long dramatic discussion, and despite the warnings that turning Tirana and Skopje away would tarnish the EU's reputation and could risk inflaming the Western Balkans region.
In a major blow to the hopes of the two Balkan countries, the European Council - preoccupied with Brexit - on Thursday failed to give Albania and North Macedonia a date to start EU membership talks.
In a last-ditch effort to reach an agreement on the matter, amid fading hope, the Council moved the issue of enlargement to Friday's last session of the council.
It is very important for the Balkans, the region and our relations with North Macedonia and Albania that these countries are given EU Membership perspective. It would be a historic mistake if they were not allowed to enter EU accession negotiations today. This was what Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said before the start of today's meeting of the European Council in Brussels.
Namely, according to the Pristina based Gazeta Blic daily, the European Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations believes that this would most affect the relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
European Union leaders meet today and tomorrow for their regular autumn summit. The agenda today includes topics such as Brexit, the Turkish operation in northern Syria and the start of accession negotiations with northern Macedonia and Albania.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov will also attend the meeting.
European Union ministers failed on Tuesday to reach a consensus on whether to open membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia, amid stiff opposition to the move from France.
"It was not a moment of glory for Europe," Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn told reporters in Luxembourg after taking part in a meeting of European affairs ministers.
EU Ministers for EU Affairs had to give green light today in Luxembourg to start the negotiation process with the two Balkan countries. However, Paris was strongly opposed.
Other countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark have demanded the separation of the two countries and the opening of negotiations with northern Macedonia only.
At the Turkish border at Kapitan Andreevo and Lesovo checkpoints, there is heavy traffic of trucks exiting the country, the press office of the Border Police said at 01:00 pm.
At the border with the Republic of Northern Macedonia at Zlatarevo checkpoint, traffic is tied up due to repair and construction works. At other border checkpoints, traffic is normal.
Pendarovski said in an interview for the Vienna-based daily newspaper "Die Presse" that his country had changed its name to obtain accession negotiations.
"So far, no candidate country has done so", he said.
If the accession negotiations are delayed further, the EU will lose its credibility and, as Pendarovski says, Euro-enthusiasm will be drastically reduced.
This is indicated by the statistics of the Institute for Analysis and Evaluation in Tourism.
More than half a million Bulgarians are expected to travel to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays. About 140,000 of them will welcome holidays outside Bulgaria, according to statistics from the Institute for Tourism Analyzes and Assessments.
Historians, political science experts, clerics, journalists, sociologists, economists and other prominent intellectuals from Bulgaria and North Macedonia have expressed "disappointment and deep concern" about the document issued by the Bulgarian government listing its various demands of North Macedonia.