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Macedonia to get EU accession date in March January 29, 2010

Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Macedonia.
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The European Parliament’s (EP) Foreign Policy Committee approved on Wednesday (January 27th) amendments to Macedonia’s EU progress reported submitted by EP lawmaker and rapporteur Zoran Thaler. Under the document, the country is to receive a date for starting EU accession talks in March, when the EU’s foreign ministers will hold their next summit. Speaking to journalists after the vote, Thaler said the approval was a very positive development for Macedonia and a strong political signal from the EP to the European Commission and the EU Council.

At the same session, the EP also approved the 2009 progress reports on Croatia and Turkey. According to the resolution, EU accession talks with Zagreb should be concluded this year, if all criteria are met. The document stressed that Croatia’s accession would be a strong impetus for other Western Balkan countries willing to join the bloc. At the same time, it advised the country to work harder to improve its public administration, reform its judiciary and fight corruption and organised crime.

Turkey, on the other hand, registered only limited progress in some key reforms, the EP said in its resolution. Ankara was criticised for failing to implement the Additional Protocol to the EC-Turkey Association Agreement, closing the Democratic Society Party, and a court decision that annulled legislation limiting the jurisdiction of military courts.

However, EP members welcomed the broad public debate launched on the so-called democratic opening process, as well as adoption of legislation that removed restrictions on broadcasts in Kurdish. The resolution also praised Turkey’s role in regional security. The resolution moves next to discussions and a vote by the EP next month in Strasbourg.

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