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Macedonia, EU start preliminary accession talks

Macedonia, EU start preliminary accession talks

Macedonia and the European Union began preliminary talks Thursday designed to reduce the length of formal negotiations for EU membership, held up by Greece over a decades-long dispute over the Balkan country's name.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said the talks aim to maintain the pace of reforms the country must implement in order to join the EU.
"We have opened today a new phase in a Macedonian-European journey," Fule said after meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. "We have built the bridge which would lead us inevitably to the accession negotiations."
The talks will focus on reforming Macedonia's public administration, strengthening the rule of law, protecting the media's freedom of expression, improving the election process and developing the market economy.
Macedonia became an EU candidate in 2005, but has been unable to start formal accession negotiations because of Greek objections to the country's name. Athens argues that the term Macedonia implies territorial claims against the northern Greek province of the same name, and has also blocked the country's efforts to join NATO over the 21-year dispute.


Updated : 2021-10-20 17:24 GMT+08:00