Zoran Zaev, the prime minister of Northern Macedonia, called a general election for April 12 shortly after EU leaders rejected the start of the formal accession process for his country to join the bloc. In a blast of fire, he insisted that the state of the Western Balkans had cleared enough to alleviate concerns of wealthy Western leaders about the country's previous ties to organized crime and corruption. Mr Zaev said: “The future of Macedonia is certain, we will win together with the citizens!
“Our people will reaffirm the right path that the earth has taken.
“It is the path of development and prosperity, the path that goes on. These are higher wages, offensive to construction, huge welfare, support for domestic businesses, anti-pollution measures, direct money back to citizens, and an adamant fight against corruption.
"We are ready for great victories and abandon policies that offer isolation, nationalism, divisions, conflicts and the enrichment of the few at the expense of citizens."
Despite Zaev's efforts to prepare Northern Macedonia for the accession process, EU leaders did not reach a unanimous decision on the country's acceptance at a summit late Thursday.
This raised fears that the state might start looking east to Russia for support in the future.
Immediately after announcing his intention to hold instant elections on Saturday, Zaev said his country faces a future in Europe or "a dark path that leads to isolation, the path of nationalism, division and conflict, the path that leads backwards."
The Skopje leader said citizens would choose the future path of Northern Macedonia.
He added: "We are victims of the historical error of the EU.
"I'm disappointed and angry and I know the whole population feels that way."
Zaev has put his political career at risk in an attempt to gain EU membership and NATO membership in Northern Macedonia.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said it was a "major historic mistake" by EU leaders for blocking accession negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania.
He added: "If we want to be respected, we have to keep our promises."
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The Netherlands and Denmark also vetoed any decision taken. But they said they would be open to considering both countries separately.
The Hague and Copenhagen said they would be happy to give Northern Macedonia a green light to start accession negotiations.
They said Skopje could further ease their path by passing new laws to safeguard the future of an independent prosecutor.
The Netherlands and Denmark, however, bluntly rejected the start of negotiations with Albania.