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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
North Macedonia

Membership status

Candidate country

Background

North Macedonia – along with other Western Balkans partners – was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership during the Thessaloniki European Council summit in 2003. Its Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the first in the region, is in force since 2004. It applied for EU membership in March 2004 and the Council decided in December 2005 to grant the country candidate status.

Since October 2009, the Commission has continuously recommended to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia. In 2015 and 2016, the recommendation was made conditional on the continued implementation of the Pržino agreement and substantial progress in the implementation of the ‘Urgent Reform Priorities’. In light of the progress achieved, the Commission repeated its unconditional recommendation to open accession negotiations in April 2018. In light of the significant progress achieved and the conditions set unanimously by the Council in June 2018 having been met, the Commission recommended in May 2019 to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia.

In March 2020, the General Affairs Council decided to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and endorsed the Commission Communication on a revised methodology "Enhancing the accession process - A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans" of February 2020. The decision was endorsed by members of the European Council.

In July 2020 the draft negotiating framework was presented to the Member States. In July 2022, the Intergovernmental Conference on accession negotiations was held with North Macedonia. The Commission started the screening process.

More information on the country's relations with the EU

Factsheets and Factographs available to download:

Timeline

  1. 19 July 2022
    Intergovernmental Conference on accession negotiations with North Macedonia.
  2. October 2020
    Commission proposes Economic & Investment Plan to support and bring the Western Balkans closer to the EU.
  3. July 2020
    Presentation of the draft negotiating framework to the Member States.
  4. 26-03-2020
    The European Council endorsed the decision to open accession negotiations.
  5. 25-03-2020
    The Council decides to open accession negotiations.
  6. 01-02-2019
    The EU is notified about the entry into force of the Prespa agreement.
  7. 01-06-2018
    The Council sets out the path towards opening accession negotiations.
  8. 01-04-2018
    The Commission repeats its unconditional recommendation to open accession negotiations.
  9. 01-11-2015
    The Commission stated that it was prepared to extend its recommendation to open accession negotiations.

    The Commission stated that it was prepared to extend its recommendation to open accession negotiations provided the implementation of the June/July agreement.

  10. 01-07-2015
    Pržino agreement, facilitated by Commissioner Hahn and three Members of the European Parliament, reached between the four main political leaders.
  11. 01-06-2015
    The Commission presented "Urgent Reform Priorities" to address the underlying rule of law issues.
  12. 01-10-2014
    Sixth recommendation to open accession negotiations.
  13. 01-10-2013
    Fifth recommendation to open accession negotiations.
  14. 01-10-2012
    Fourth recommendation to open accession negotiations.
  15. 29-03-2012
    European Commission launches a High Level Accession Dialogue with Skopje.
  16. 01-10-2011
    Third recommendation to open accession negotiations.
  17. 01-11-2010
    Second recommendation to open accession negotiations.
  18. 19-12-2009
    Citizens of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia travel visa free to the Schengen area.
  19. 01-10-2009
    Commission recommends opening of accession negotiations.
  20. 15-07-2009
    Commission proposes to grant visa liberalisation to the country.
  21. 01-03-2008
    Commission adopts Communication on the Western Balkans identifying benchmarks for next stage in accession process.
  22. 18-02-2008
    Council adopts Accession Partnership for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, updating the 2006 European Partnership.
  23. 01-01-2008
    Visa facilitation and readmission agreements enter into force.
  24. 30-01-2006
    Council adopts European Partnership.
  25. 16-12-2005
    Council grants candidate status to the country.
  26. 09-11-2005
    Commission gives favourable opinion on the application of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for membership in the European Union.
  27. 14-02-2005
    The country replies to EU questionnaire.
  28. 14-09-2004
    1st meeting of Stabilisation and Association Council between EU and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
  29. 17-05-2004
    Council asks Commission to give opinion on application.
  30. 01-04-2004
    Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) enters into force.
  31. 22-03-2004
    Application for EU membership.
  32. 01-06-2001
    Agreement on trade and trade-related matters enters into force.
  33. 09-04-2001
    Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) is signed.

Key documents