North Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski said on July 16 that his cabinet had approved the French proposal for starting negotiations with the European Union and confirmed that the first inter-government conference would take place on July 19.
"Based on the conclusions adopted by the Sobranje (parliament), the government has adopted a decision to approve the June 20 proposal of the French EU presidency. With this decision, we begin the process of accession negotiations between North Macedonia and the EU," Kovacevski told a news conference which included ministers from his cabinet.
On July 16 North Macedonia's parliament adopted conclusions obligating the government to accept the French proposal for broaching negotiations with the EU and to protect the specific components of the identity of the Macedonian people, language and history in that process.
Brussels hailed the Sobranje vote and announced the first inter-government conference with Skopje for July 19. The U.S. administration also praised the decision. "The United States welcomes the decision by the parliament of North Macedonia to take the next steps on North Macedonia’s EU accession path. [...] This decision comes at a critical moment for North Macedonia, the Western Balkans, and Europe," a press statement issued by the U.S. Department of State said.