Macedonia should start accession talks with EU

It is not only in Skopje’s interest, but it’s also in EU’s interest

It is not only in Skopje’s interest, but it’s also in EU’s interest accession negotiations to be finally launched, Franco Frattini has stated after taking part at the second Berlin Forum on the future of Europe.

“I believe that all EU members should be committed on finding a final solution to the name issue. To finally open the door and to set a date for start of accession talks for Macedonia. This is my personal wish and it is also the wish of the government of PM (Mario) Monti. I hope the EU will manage to unblock this difficult situation,” Frattini has told Deutsche Welle. The Italian diplomat is a former foreign minister, former EU commissioner for justice, freedom and security and a possible future NATO chief.

With respect to the four positive assessments by the European Commission in its progress report on Macedonia and the possibility of the process aimed at finding a solution to the name row with Greece to be held in parallel with the membership talks, asked whether the European Council in December could set a date for launch of entry talks, Frattini underscored that it was in EU’s interest as well to finally launch negotiations with Macedonia.

“I certainly hope so… Now I see more possibilities, because crises help in finding solutions, where they are within reach. I believe it will be beneficial for Europe too to put the issue on the table,” Frattini said.
Asked whether there was a chance for Macedonia to get lobbyists from some experienced and renowned EU members, the diplomat noted that Macedonia didn’t need lobbying, “it needs general understanding.”

Moreover, participants at the forum, including the foreign ministers of Germany and UK, Guido Westerwelle and William Hague emphasised that the ultimate goal – political union – was still a long way to go. Even though enlargement is an important destination, still the debt crisis in recent years has completely suppressed it.

The EU faces three strategic enlargements according to Finnish foreign minister Alexander Stubb.
“Europe is about to experience three key strategic enlargements: easy enlargements with countries such as Iceland, Croatia, Norway and Switzerland. The second includes Western Balkan countries, which has to happen, and the third one is with Turkey – one of the five most important countries in the world and a strategically important country for the European Union,” Stubb has stated amongst other things. 

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