“By not opening the accession negotiations as foreseen by the end of this year, Europe is taking a big risk. This might lead to national sentiment again to reach the surface in North Macedonia as well as in Bulgaria. We also risk making North Macedonia lose patience with the EU. We know too well that other foreign powers are interested in the region and if the EU is not there for them, others will be” said Gabrič, who is Third Vice-President of Renew Europe CoR.
She will now look into what can be done more to be part of the process.
“This has proven very useful in our cooperation with Ukrainian local authorities. This could be applied to North Macedonia. My own municipality Trbovlje in Slovenia has had a very good experience with our sister city Valandovo in North Macedonia. We started an Erasmus for young people, which has proven very successful. We are looking for good practices on both sides to share with each other. I believe it would therefore be beneficial to put in place more projects and peer to peer exercises between cities in the EU and cities in the Western Balkans with support of the EU. I would be happy to lead this process when it comes to exchanges between municipalities in the EU and North Macedonia through the Joint Consultative Committee CoR-North Macedonia.”