VICE PREMIER BOCEVSKI AT EU PARLIAMENT SESSION
"I am from Macedonia and I won't define myself in any other way than being Macedonian, stressed Vice Premier responsible for EU affairs Ivica Bocevski, responding to a Greek MEP at a session of European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs."
Responding to MEP's remark that Macedonia should demonstrate greater willingness for compromise with regard to the name row, Bocevski said the country thus far had made several concessions on the matter.
- Macedonia has accepted to be called under an acronym, it was under economic blockades, changed its flag, the Constitution and in spite of all that Macedonia remains dedicated to the EU integration. One should ask which country is more willing to make a compromise and to make progress, said the Vice PM, who delivered an address on Tuesday before the Committee.
He noted the word consensus meant finding fair and mutually acceptable solution that wouldn't harm the country's identity.
- The Republic of Macedonia is fully committed to the EU integration process and the country has political and administrative capacity to kick off membership talks, stressed Bocevski.
German MEP Bernd Posselt had an opening statement on Macedonia's progress in the EU. He expressed his disappointment and disbelief by the way Macedonia had been treated by the European Union.
-I am not happy with the work of the European Council. If I were to summarize any activities I would say I am disappointed with three things. I strongly disagree with the European Council's report on Macedonia's election. In 99% of Macedonia's electoral votes, the voting passed European standards, yet the country was given harsh report because of incidents among minorities in few tiny villages. Because of few villages we are punishing the whole country, says Bernd Posselt.
Posselt made a note on the way the European Union behaves towards the Macedonian Government. "An overwhelming majority of Macedonians and minorities support the Government, yet for any single individual from the opposition who boycotts parliament we go up in arms? Are we looking for something, anything to punish Macedonia?" asked Posselt.
The German MEP also expressed strong disagreement with the EC report on Macedonia's progress towards the EU. Bernd Posselt saw the progress as 'not realistic' and 'very harsh', adding that Macedonia is more fit to be a EU member than some current EU members. The leader of the Greens, Angelika Beer agreed with Posselt, accusing nationalistic Greece of causing problems in the region.
Slovenian MEP Jelko Kacin stated that EU had double standards given the fact that when it came to the status of any Western Balkans candidate country, deadlines were being set when something needed to be completed, whereas for Macedonia "it is impossible to set a date when something needs to start."
He stressed both Macedonia and Greece were very close to reaching a resolution, emphasizing that no one had the right to condition someone about his/hers national identity.
- When I talk about the language, I have the right for self-determination, when I talk about my affiliation I have the sole right to say who I am, what I am and how I feel. If someone wants to debate the name of my country that's fine, but the other two issues cannot be a subject of a debate, noted Kacin.
According to the MEP, a concrete date must be set for resolving the name dispute. He said that the best option was a date to be set by the three international subjects - the United Nations, EU and NATO, whereas the affected sides - Macedonia and Greece - to accept it, which is unlikely in near future.