Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/fyrom : Skopje Ready for Accession Talks This Year, Says Milososki

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/fyrom : Skopje Ready for Accession Talks This Year, Says Milososki

Article excerpt

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is still eyeing the opening of accession talks with the EU by the end of this year, despite ethnic-related political tensions which erupted during the recent parliamentary elections held on 1 June.

"We're prepared to start the negotiations tomorrow. I think this year we will be given a chance," Macedonia's Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki said at a joint press conference with Othmar Karas, Ingo Friedrich and Anna Ibrisagic, EPP-ED members of the European Parliament, on 10 June in Brussels.

Violence during the recent parliamentary elections prompted warnings by the EU that the Balkan country must do better to ensure that basic democratic principles are upheld if it wants to progress on its path towards EU membership.

Milososki argued, however, that cases of violence and other misbehaviours during the campaign and on election day should not blow Macedonia's chances for opening accession talks this year. "The vast majority of the country voted in a proper way," Milososki said, pledging that those who stirred violence in an election marred by gun battles, fighting and fraud would be prosecuted. "Certain state authorities and agencies have already taken punitive measures against perpetrators of violence during the elections," he said.

Skopje has also received warnings from Greece, which says that before opening accession talks with the EU, Macedonia has to compromise on the name issue'. Milososki expressed his hope that the negotiations, which are due to resume on 11 June after the break following the NATO summit in Bucharest, where Greece blocked Macedonia's accession to the alliance, will bear fruit. …

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