Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Macedonia has medium-term EU perspective

BRUSSELS -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Macedonia "has a prospect" for joining the EU, but that it is a medium-term one.

Germany takes over six-month rotation as EU President on 1 January 2007. Stabilization of the Western Balkan will be one of the Berlin's priority in this period, the Chancellor said.

Merkel further said that countries such as Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Macedonia have a "prospect of membership ... but we know that the perspective is a medium-term one."

She added that "a great many preparations" would be needed before it becomes reality, AP reported.

As regards Croatia, Merkel noted authority the EU was conducting "successful negotiations" with this country, it was too early to set a date for it to join the bloc.

"We all know that the perspective of joining is no guarantee for later membership, but that the criteria must be fulfilled," she said. "I don't say this as a threat, but rather as an encouragement to the countries that want to join".

According to the announcements, Union's enlargement, judiciary, internal affairs and migration policy will top the summit's agenda.

The conclusions referring to the enlargement will include separate sections on Croatia and Turkey - the two countries which have already started the membership negotiations, and on the Western Balkan's countries.

The summit is expected to reaffirm the European aspirations of the Balkan's countries, however no progress is in sight as to setting the date of negotiations with Macedonia

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