SKOPJE, North Macedonia -- The Czech prime minister is urging the European Union to start accession talks with North Macedonia, saying failure to do so would send the wrong message to would-be members of the bloc.
Andrej Babish says EU leaders should "keep their word" in starting negotiations with the small Balkan country, which changed its name from Macedonia under a deal to normalize relations with neighboring Greece.
The agreement earlier this year was designed to ease North Macedonia's way into NATO and the EU — which Greece opposed for years because of the name dispute.
North Macedonia has been a candidate to join the 28-nation union since 2005. Its government hopes accession talks will start by the autumn.
Babish spoke following talks in Skopje Tuesday with North Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.