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EU’s Barroso urges Macedonia to step up reforms, solve name issue with Greece April 9, 2011

Posted by Yilan in Macedonia, Yunanistan.
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European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Saturday urged Macedonia to speed up reforms and make an extra effort to solve the name issue with neighbouring Greece in order to get the country closer to the EU and NATO.

Barroso said after talks with Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski that Macedonia needs to reform the judiciary and public administration as well as step up the fight against corruption and organized crime.

High-ranking officials from Macedonia and the EU will hold a biannual “accession dialogue” in order to monitor the reform process, Barroso said.

Barroso also said Saturday it was “essential” to resolve the name dispute with Greece “as soon as possible.”

Macedonia and Greece have been an odds for almost two decades over the name Macedonia, with Greece alleging that use of the name implies territorial claims on its own region of Macedonia. Athens has been blocking the landlocked Balkan country’s efforts to join NATO since 2008 and has threatened to also block Skopje’s attempts to join the European Union.

Although the European Commission in 2009 recommended that the EU open membership talks with Macedonia, no date has been set. Macedonia has been a candidate for membership since 2005.

Barroso later met with Macedonian president Gjorge Ivanov and will depart later Saturday.

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