US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker, present at the Prespa Forum, expressed disappointment at not setting a date for the opening of membership negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia.
"The European Union's decision to open negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania was inspiring, but if it does not take concrete steps now, the EU will lose credibility," Reeker said.
"We hope that the EU will hold the first intergovernmental conferences with both countries as soon as possible. Any further delay in starting negotiations increases citizens' Euroscepticism and reflects negatively on the political situation in the countries," the senior US official said.
Even the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev has not spared criticism of the EU for not opening negotiations, emphasizing that the countries have already completed their homework.
"The EU has not kept its promise. As my friend Edi Rama says, the EU can set the date, but not the location or the fact that we are part of the European family. The Western Balkans is Europe," Zaev said.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told the forum that the region should continue with European integration, but the other focus should be on regional co-operation. According to her, this cooperation can improve the quality of life of citizens.
Ms. Bernabiç mentioned as a concrete example the abolition of roaming tariffs for citizens in the Western Balkan countries.
"It is a tangible result and in that way the citizens will feel that we have achieved something for them. This is the value for which I strive and expect such projects," Brnabic said.
For Kosovo, the mini-Schengen is a visionless initiative for the Western Balkans region, said its Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
"Kosovo strongly rejects it and encourages us all to return to the EU agenda. Dissatisfaction with the EU should not be instrumentalized by countries that do not love NATO or support the Russian Federation," said Kurti.