CONDITIONS FOR EU ENTRY TALK IN MARCH
The European Union is likely to propose conditions in March for starting entry talks with Macedonia, the bloc's enlargement chief said on Wednesday.
"If positive progress continues, then my intention is to propose... a set of benchmarks to fulfill for the launch of accession negotiations," EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said after talks with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Reuters reported.
He said the conditions would mainly concern reforms of the country's administrative and judicial systems and were likely to be presented in March along with policy proposals for other Balkan states queuing to join the 27-member bloc.
"I am certain these key priorities are doable," he said.
Brussels insists on progress on the rule of law, the rights of the Albanian minority and fighting organized crime and corruption before entry talks can start.
"Starting of the negotiations with the Republic of Macedonia and liberalization of the visa regime will have a serious, positive impact not only on Macedonia but on the whole region," Gruevski said at a joint news conference with Rehn.