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Macedonia “Ready For EU Accession Talks” April 21, 2010

Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Macedonia, Spain.
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Macedonia could start its EU accession talks within the period of the Spanish EU presidency, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told media in Skopje on Tuesday.

Moratinos, whose country holds the rotating EU Presidency until June, grounded his optimism on his impression that both Macedonia and Greece are making their utmost efforts to resolve their bilateral name spat, which is the only obstacle for the start of accession talks with Skopje.

In addition to talks with Macedonian FM Antonio Milososki, Moratinos was set to meet President Gjorge Ivanov, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Vice Premier for European Affairs Vasko Naumovski and several MPs.

For his part Milososki reiterated that Macedonia is fully committed to resolving the long lasting name spat that has caused Greece to block Macedonia’s NATO accession and later its EU integration progress as well.

Milososki urged Athens to restrain from speculating on possible name solutions.

His remarks referred to a recent statement from the Greek Foreign Ministry Spokesman Grigori Dalavecouras in which he reiterated that the name “Northern Macedonia” is acceptable for Greece as it fits Athens’ demand for a geographic qualifier to distinguish the state from the northern Greek province that is also called Macedonia.

Athens argues that Skopje’s official name, Republic of Macedonia, implies territorial claims against its own territory. As a member of both NATO and the EU, Greece’s consent is necessary before Macedonia can join these organisations.

In December last year, the start of Macedonia’s accession talks with the EU were blocked, although previously the European Commission had said that all conditions had been met.

Since then media have been speculating that the EU has given both sides an informal June deadline to resolve the dispute.

A fresh round of UN brokered name talks between Athens and Skopje is expected to be held soon.

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