German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday urged the European Union to open accession talks with North Macedonia.
"The accession negotiations that were firmly promised two years ago must begin now. I will push for this," Scholz said after meeting in Skopje with Dimitar Kovacevski, North Macedonia's prime minister.
Scholz expressed satisfaction that North Macedonia supports the EU's stance on Moscow and has adopted sanctions over Russia's war on Ukraine.
"Germany is serious about the European integration of the countries of the region, and this is especially true for North Macedonia. The EU has made a special promise to North Macedonia, which fulfills all the preconditions for opening accession negotiations," said Scholz.
Scholz stressed that this is further proof of North Macedonia's orientation towards Europe.
"It's very important to bring a new dynamic into this process," Scholz said.
Kovacevski thanked Germany for its strong support and encouragement for his country.
"This year we celebrate the 29th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries,” he said.
“During this nearly 30-year period, Germany ranked first in commercial exchange with our country with a value of €4.2 billion. 45% of North Macedonia's overall exports. 200 German companies are partners with North Macedonian companies and provide 20,000 jobs.”
Scholz on Friday visited Serbia and Kosovo, where he urged Serbia to adopt European Union sanctions on Russia and called for Kosovo to resolve issues with Serbia, key for Kosovo's EU path.
Later on Saturday Scholz is set to travel to Bulgaria.