Germany offers support on N. Macedonia’s stalled EU bid

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, left, talks for the media during a news conference with his North Macedonia’s counterpart Nikola Dimitrov, right, after their meeting in Skopje, North Macedonia, on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Maas arrived Wednesday in Skopje to discuss with his counterpart Nikola Dimitrov the bilateral relations and the further steps after North Macedonia has failed to open the membership talks with European Union last month. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

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SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister has offered backing for North Macedonia’s efforts to start membership talks with the European Union, after a minority of EU members blocked the process.

Heiko Maas said Wednesday that the EU “has to open the doors” to the Balkan country and said the people of North Macedonia should not be disappointed with the setback.

In an embarrassing climb-down last month, the EU failed to agree on starting membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania after countries led by France disagreed.

Maas said Germany stays “at the disposal” of North Macedonia and offered additional support to the country in its ongoing efforts to reform the judiciary and the rule of law, and to fight corruption.

He spoke after talks in Skopje with North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister, Nikola Dimitrov.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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