Last October, North Macedonia and Albania suffered a setback to their EU ambitions. European leaders said no to initial membership talks for the Balkan countries.
All of them acknowledged that North Macedonia had delivered on its promises. The country concluded the Prespa Agreement with Greece and even went on to change its name - all in order to secure its future at the negotiating table with the EU.
However, some countries expressed concerns about Albania's progress.
Speaking to Euronews, Nikola Dimitrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia says that splitting their membership bids could be a solution.
"I think a success of one is a good news for the whole region. As neighbours and good neighbours we believe that Tirana should also be able to start its European journey. So I think that 2 out of 2 is best, we need to all work towards finding a common denominator. But if this is not possible, then we need a positive dynamic, not a negative dynamic. And one is definitely better and more than none," Dimitrov told Euronews.
It is not certain that this so-called decoupling of their bids would secure the way for North Macedonia. The Commission is now in charge of producing a paper for early next year (January) to review the accession process.
The Minister had his first meeting with the Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi. But, for Dimitrov, there is no alternative for his country and the region than joining the EU one day.
"I don’t think that our region has any alternative strategic, I think that we will get there one way or the other. But that journey would be easier if we have friends and the tools to support reforms."
Last October, the European Council decided that the enlargement issue would be discussed “before the Zagreb Summit”, next May. According to the Minister, an agreement should be reached “as soon as possible.