North Macedonia's president on Thursday handed a mandate to pro-Western ex-prime minister Zoran Zaev to form a new government after his party bloc narrowly won a July 15 election.
"I will lead a government that will not ... veer away from the road leading to membership of the European Union after obtaining membership of NATO," Zaev said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia to "roll up their sleeves" and reach a mutual agreement.
During virtual talks at the EU-Western Balkans summit, Merkel spoke with Aleksandar Vučić and Hashim Thaçi and called on them to reach an agreement by the end of this year, BGNES reported, citing the Ina news agency.
North Macedonia on Tuesday cleared the final hurdle to becoming the 30th member of the NATO military alliance after the Spanish Senate ratified its accession.
Spain's office at NATO said that 259 of the 264 senators endorsed the move. The bill was immediately signed by King Felipe and will be submitted to the US State Department for official confirmation within the next 72 hours.
Lawmakers in North Macedonia unanimously ratified an agreement Tuesday to make the landlocked country in southern Europe the 30th member of the NATO military alliance.
All 114 lawmakers present in the 120-seat parliament voted in favor of ratification. A NATO flag was raised outside the building during a brief ceremony.