UNITED STATES NEWS

US official voices hope North Macedonia will be able to proceed with EU membership bid

Aug 25, 2023, 10:44 AM | Updated: 11:06 am

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — A senior U.S. State Department official on Friday voiced hope that North Macedonia will be able to approve politically difficult constitutional changes that would help its bid to join the European Union.

Gabriel Escobar, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Balkan policy, said during talks in the capital Skopje that the U.S. strongly backs the country’s EU accession bid.

North Macedonia has agreed, following pressure from neighboring EU member Bulgaria, to amend its constitution and include Bulgarians in a long list of ethnic groups formally listed as living in the country.

But while Parliament started the amendment process last week, it looks unlikely that it will be completed due to strong reactions from the conservative main opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE.

Following talks with North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski, Escobar said he was “very excited” that the process had started. “I hope it will continue,” he added.

The amendment — which would also add a formal mention of other groups, including Croatians, Montenegrins, Slovenians and Jews — requires an enhanced two-thirds Parliamentary majority for approval. But VMRO-DPMNE, which controls 44 of the 120 seats, is resisting the change and accuses Bulgaria of trying to impose its will on Skopje.

The constitution already lists Albanians, Turks, Serbs and Roma among other ethnic groups living in the small Balkan country.

Escobar met later Friday with VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski, who according to a party statement refused to budge on the proposed amendment and called for early elections.

North Macedonia and Albania started membership negotiations with the EU in July last year, in a process expected to take years.

North Macedonia has been a candidate to join the bloc since 2005. The country solved a long-lasting name dispute with neighboring Greece in 2018. But then Bulgaria objected over language and cultural disputes, insisting it would not let North Macedonia join the EU unless it lists a Bulgarian ethnic minority in the constitution.

United States News

Associated Press

Nobody hurt after plane’s engine catches fire at Chicago O’Hare airport

CHICAGO (AP) — A commercial airliner’s engine caught fire Monday at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said. United flight 2091 to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport aborted takeoff after flames were reported around 2 p.m. while the aircraft was still on the taxiway, the FAA said. The airline said the plane, an Airbus A320, […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

81-year-old arrested after police say he terrorized a California neighborhood with a slingshot

AZUSA, Calif. (AP) — An 81-year-old man who investigators say terrorized a Southern California neighborhood for years with a slingshot has been arrested, police said. While conducting an investigation, detectives “learned that during the course of 9-10 years, dozens of citizens were being victimized by a serial slingshot shooter,” the Azusa Police Department said in […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

Man convicted of Chicago murder based on blind witness’ testimony sues city, police

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago man convicted of murder based in part on testimony from a legally blind eyewitness is suing the city and the police department. A judge convicted Darien Harris in 2014 in connection with a fatal shooting at a South Side gas station in 2011. He was 12 years into a 76-year […]

13 hours ago

Damage is seen after a storm the night before, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Pryor, Okla....

Associated Press

At least 22 dead in Memorial Day weekend storms that devastated several US states

Deadly weather killed at least 18 people, injured hundreds and left a wide trail of destruction across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Biden says each generation has to ‘earn’ freedom, in solemn Memorial Day remarks

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden marked Memorial Day with a pledge that the country would continue the work of the nation’s fallen toward a more perfect union, “for which they lived, and for which they died.” Delivering remarks at a solemn remembrance ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Biden said each generation must ensure the […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Mother pushes 2-year-old girl to safety just before fatal crash at Michigan drag race

OCEANA COUNTY, Mich. (AP) — Police say a Michigan woman was killed when an out-of-control vehicle slammed into her during a drag-racing event, but she was able to push her 2-year-old daughter to safety in the seconds before the crash. The crash happened Sunday at Silver Lake State Park Sand Dunes in western Oceana County, […]

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

US official voices hope North Macedonia will be able to proceed with EU membership bid