The European Commission's renewed recommendation on opening of the accession talks is an acknowledgment of the results achieved this past year and the work done by institutions, the administration, political and social stakeholders. The Republic of Macedonia expects the member countries in the EU Council to be encouraged by these arguments and by the Union's common interest and in December to reach a decision on launching negotiations, Nikola Gruevski said Wednesday.
The Macedonian Prime Minister was speaking at a joint press conference with EU Ambassador Aivo Orav after being presented with this year's progress report on Macedonia.
"The Republic of Macedonia is fully prepared to start the next stage of the accession process. We agree with the EC's conclusion that the opening of negotiations will not only consolidate reforms and strengthen inter-ethnic cohesion, but it will also maintain the EU's enlargement credibility as a process of merits based on solid conditionality," Gruevski stressed.
With respect to good neighborliness and regional cooperation, Gruevski noted the Commission had always recognized and highly appreciated Macedonia's constructive role in bilateral relations with neighboring countries and its active engagement in regional initiatives. "This is also the case with this year's report, which is of crucial importance for the country," he said.
"The Government of Macedonia will continue making efforts to improve the relations and to build bridges of cooperation in the region. The relations with neighboring EU countries are hugely important to us. We are willing to walk the road to EU membership cooperating and actively using their experiences. Hence, we have initiated and we will continue proposing a myriad of concrete activities and projects aimed at advancing the mutual cooperation and trust," said PM Gruevski.
Considering the imposed Greek-Macedonian name differences, he reiterated that Macedonia 'wants the name dispute to be solved as soon as possible with rule of law and observance of the international legal framework defined by the UN and the International Court of Justice paving the way to finding solution."
"We want to establish a proactive and intensive high-ranking process. Delaying the process of settling the issue benefits no one," Gruevski stressed.
It is vital the Greek-Macedonian relations to be developed in the spirit of mutual respect, cooperation, trust and partnership, according to him. Gruevski underscored that the launch of entry talks with Macedonia could allow the countries to improve their relations and overcome the differences. "I call on Greece to support a decision to be reached for Macedonia by the EU Council in December and to directly contribute to the process of EU integration in the Balkans."
"We wish our first inter-governmental conference on accession negotiations to be held during Greece's EU presidency," PM Gruevski urged.
He added that the progress report would be thoroughly reviewed while its recommendations would be perceived as a roadmap for future activities of the government in the accession process.
The EC progress report on Macedonia has been also handed over to President Gjorge Ivanov and Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski.