Thursday, July 20, 2006

Paris says Macedonia has chance to join EU in 2009

Macedonia can enter the European Union along with Croatia, but the first condition will be fair and democratic parliamentary elections, said the Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje, Ambassador Carlos Pais.

If you conduct fair and free elections, you could catch the train along with Croatia and move on to the EU, said Ambassador Pais while opening the sixth roundtable meeting entitled Political Dialogue 2006.

The meeting, co-organized by OSCE Spillover Monitor Mission to Skopje and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aims to foster dialogue between political parties, civil society experts and international experts on the role and responsibilities of political parties in the forthcoming election process.

Ambassador Pais said the EU rarely admits one country at a time, therefore, the democratic elections will give Macedonia a chance to join the EU along with Croatia.

The US Ambassador Jillian Milovanocic, who took part in a series of roundtable meetings related to Political Dialogue 2006 initiative, stressed that election fraud will have a negative impact on Macedonia's image and will slow down country's accession into NATO and EU.

It is of crucial significance how the people will be chosen in the forthcoming elections. If they are elected with fraud, it would be bad and it would have a negative impact on Macedonia's commitments for NATO and EU membership, Ambassador Milovanovic said.

According to Ambassador Milovanovic, there are two election scenarios. The negative scenario, based on negative campaigning, lies and accusations would drive the foreign investors away.

The positive scenario, based on presentation of programmes and platforms of political parties, would contribute to creation of positive atmosphere, it would motivate the people to cast their ballots, and would create a better investment environment.

British Ambassador Robert Chatterton Dickson said the forthcoming elections are litmus paper for development of democracy in the country.

To make our arguments on EU enlargement win, Macedonia should do its homework, and conduct fair elections, British Ambassador said.

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