Italy affirmed its support to Macedonia in the country's efforts to acquire a date for launching negotiations with EU.
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi himself spelled out the pledge for support after today's talks in Rome with the Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.
I would like to express my support to Macedonia on its road to EU. The country has achieved a significant progress, Prodi said after the meeting.
Italian PM also confirmed that he sent a letter to the leaders of the EU member-countries, asking them to set the date for start of membership negotiations with Macedonia, and to offer reassurance on the political agreement for accession of Croatia, once Zagreb fulfils its obligations.
Macedonian PM extended gratitude for the support, adding that Macedonia has a great friend in Italy, which will back the country at the upcoming EU Summit slated for mid December, as well as at the following summits in 2007.
In the meantime, Macedonia will focus on meeting the standards and adoption of legislations necessary for setting the date for start of negotiations with EU as soon as possible.
The interlocutors also discussed the modalities of Italian assistance to Macedonia's battle against organized crime and corruption, Macedonian Radio reported.
Previously, Gruevski held talks with the Italian Deputy National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor, Francesco Mandoi, focusing on the current Macedonian legislation referring to this area.
According to Gruevski's statement, Mandoi is likely to accept the post of PM's Advisor for fighting organized crime.
Vice-Prime Minister in charge of European Integrations, Gabriela Konevska-Trajkovska, accompanies PM Gruevski on his visit to Italy.