Zaev talked to Merkel about the need to unblock Macedonia’s EU path, and about his Mini Schengen project

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Zoran Zaev had a meeting with outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Tirana, after which his office said that the Chancellor agreed that Macedonia should be allowed to continue with its EU integration. During her remarks, Merkel blamed nationalism in Bulgaria for blocking Macedonia, as well as Albania.

We need to resolve the political obstacles as soon as possible and to integrate Macedonia in the EU. We are completing our homework successfully, but that doesn’t mean we stop there. We fight every day for a better tomorrow for our citizens, Zaev told Merkel, per his press office.

Zaev told Merkel that Macedonia continues to promote a proposal from Portugal, during its presidency of the European Council, a proposal that Bulgaria already rejected. It calls for the two countries to issue separate, non-identical statements on the origin of the Macedonian nation and language, and to move the process of examining Macedonia’s compliance with Bulgarian demands to a format where the veto power would not be used as frequently as it is now.

He also promoted the Open Balkan – Mini Schengen initiative to better integrate the economies of Macedonia, Albania and Serbia, which is somehow supposed to compensate for the loss of opportunities caused by the EU blockade.