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Foreign Minister Schallenberg Welcomes Macedonian Counterpart Bujar Osmani

AUSTRIA, August 31 - On 1 September 2022, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Bujar Osmani, the Foreign Minister of North Macedonia, met for a working meeting in Vienna. The two foreign ministers discussed North Macedonia’s EU accession talks and the status of EU enlargement in the other Western Balkan states. The impact of the Russian war of aggression, the upcoming OSCE chairmanship of North Macedonia, and illegal migration along the Balkan route were also on the agenda. 

North Macedonia is considered one of the flagship countries of EU rapprochement in the Western Balkans. The start of formal EU accession talks on 19 July 2022 sent an important signal to the region and demonstrated the credibility of the EU enlargement policy. In the meeting, Foreign Minister Schallenberg emphasised that further steps would need to follow quickly in order to move to the next negotiation phase.

North Macedonia is an exemplary candidate country. Hardly any other country has done so much to help stabilise the Western Balkans – it was even prepared to change its name. Thus it was high time for us to recognise this European dedication and commitment with the start of accession talks in July. Today, I was pleased to convey our congratulations to my friend Bujar once again in person,

said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg on his meeting with Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani.

The two foreign ministers also talked about the impact that the Russian war of aggression is having on North Macedonia and the entire Western Balkans. Next year, North Macedonia will assume the chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), thereby taking on a key role in the most critical phase of the OSCE since the Cold War. Following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, North Macedonia took a clear stand, for instance by fully supporting the EU sanctions – once again proving that it is part of the European community of values. This clear position also strengthens the already close economic, political and human bilateral partnership between Austria and North Macedonia.

Given the Russian destabilisation potential in the Western Balkans, we cannot lose any more time; we must now follow up the declarations made nearly 20 years ago in Thessaloniki with rapid action. The EU stands by its promises to North Macedonia,

said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

Another topic of the working meeting was illegal migration along the Balkan route. In this context, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg thanked North Macedonia for its good collaboration and discussed further possibilities for cooperation. The last bilateral working meeting between Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani took place in Skopje in May 2022.