MILOSOSKI IN BRUSSELS TO MEET REHN
Macedonia has real chances to get a date for opening the EU entry talks and free visa regime, as the country is a leader of the region in meeting the criteria to that effect, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said Wednesday after a meeting with Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki.
It's not known whether the EU will invent another problem or 'benchmark' as Brussels likes to say, to keep the visa wall up despite the fact that Macedonians had travelled worldwide without visas until 1991.
Rehn on his part, once again extended congratulations to Macedonia on the successful elections, pointing out that the long-expected compromise to the name dispute with Greece should be reached this year, especially after the fortifying of the Government's political mandate as a result of the latest elections.
The name row settlement will be beneficial for all, Rehn said, calling for resumption of negotiations under the UN mediation.
Macedonia should also continue to work on meeting the 'benchmarks', in particular the combat against corruption, public administration and judiciary reforms, Rehn said.
Macedonia's successful elections have demonstrated its political capacity to resume the EU-integration process, Milososki said.
- The country's next step and priority is to acquire the European Commission (EC) recommendation for launching the EU accession talks and free visa regime, which will send a positive signal to all Western Balkan countries, Milososki said.
If educators Kiril and Metodij needed no visas to travel across Central Europe in the medieval period and educate people, I believe that today the citizens of Macedonia deserve to be able to do the same, Milososki said, adding that after the elections the Government would double its efforts to fulfil the (EC) benchmarks.
I believe that the Republic of Macedonia has institutional, political capacity to enter the ambitious process of accession negotiations, Milososki said.
Referring to the name row, Milososki said Macedonia was urging for a compromise, fair solution, acceptable for the two parties, as well as for full respect of the 1995 Interim Accord, which bans any hindering of Macedonia's integration processes under the interim reference.
Bilateral issues should not been considered as a criterion for the EU membership, Milososki said. In this respect he mentioned London-Madrid dispute over Gibraltar, which did not motivated Britain to veto Spain's accession to the EU, NATO.