US official backs North Macedonia’s EU bid, urges reforms

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — A senior U.S. State Department official has voiced backing for North Macedonia’s bid to open accession talks with the European Union, but urged the country to implement necessary judicial reforms.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker said Friday the reforms should demonstrate nobody is above the law.

After talks in Skopje with North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Reeker urged EU members to open accession talks with the country in the fall.

On Thursday, the EU enlargement commissioner called for strong reform efforts for North Macedonia to start accession talks in October.

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EU members are divided on the merits of further expansion. North Macedonia has been a candidate to join since 2005, and is set to become the next member of the NATO alliance.

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