European integration of North Macedonia: challenges of the 21st century
The article focuses on research and analysis of the international situation surrounding the Republic of Macedonia on its way to joining the European Union. It is shown how the process of recognition of the Republic of Macedonia by the European Union was complicated by the contradictions between the EU member states and the Republic of Macedonia. First, the disputes with Greece regarding the name of the state, citizenship and elements of the state symbols of the Republic of Macedonia, which began in the early 90s of the XX century, led to the imposition of a veto by Greece on the negotiation process of the Republic of Macedonia’s accession to the EU and NATO, which blocked the negotiation process during 2008-2018. Second, historical and linguistic contradictions with Bulgaria and Bulgaria’s refusal to approve the European Union’s negotiating framework for North Macedonia on November 17, 2020, which lasted until July 2022. Attention is drawn to the fact that events at the European level affected the already slow process of the country’s accession to the European Union. 2019 has been a year of European elections, including elections to the European Parliament, the appointment and restructuring of the European Commission, and the protracted issue of Brexit. And the discussion and acceptance of France’s requirements regarding the new, more complex methodology for joining the EU delayed the process of considering the issue of new members joining the EU for another two years. It is emphasized that the official accession negotiations with North Macedonia, which began on July 19, 2022, are an important factor that strengthens the security and defence of the Balkans and ensures the stability of the region. After 17 years of waiting, negotiations have finally begun, opening new perspectives for the state and citizens of North Macedonia.
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