The European Commission wants to start the negotiation process for the membership of the Republic of Macedonia in the European Union. This is the report that will be announced on April 18, reports Radio Free Europe. For the first time, Macedonia has received an unconditional recommendation for negotiations.

“Given the country’s progress, the EC recommends launching negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Commission expects the current reforms to be maintained and strengthened. To support this course, the EC proposes the launch of pre-accession talks on the judiciary, justice, freedom and security sphere of the country, according to the report for Republic of Macedonia.

Brussels points out that Macedonia has managed to overcome the deep political crisis, stressing that the necessary structural reforms are a slow process and it takes years.

“A positive change in political mentality is visible throughout the society that was absent in recent years, and this was the biggest obstacle”, says the Progress Report of the Republic of Macedonia, which is about to be discussed once again by the European Commissioners. On the basis of the Commission’s proposals and the talks in Sofia, a decision of the European Council is expected to be announced by the end of June, i.e. at the end of the Bulgarian presidency.

Macedonia submitted an application for EU membership on 26 February 2004. On 9 November 2005 The Commission took a favourable standing. At a meeting on 15-16 December 2005 The European Council decided to grant the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the status of a candidate country.

Since 19 December 2009, the citizens of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia can travel without visas to the Schengen area. For the first time, the EC recommended opening negotiations with Macedonia already in October 2009, but in 2015 the recommendation became conditional and depended on compliance with the Przino agreement between the then government and the opposition.

On 15 December 2015 The Council adopted conclusions about the EU-Western Balkans Stabilisation and Association Process covering the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It is expected that the EC will re-launch an unconditional recommendation this week. Albania, which has a candidate status for the EU since 2014, has so far not received such support.