Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Macedonia and Slovenia for EU Expansion to Western Balkans

Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki and his counterpart Dimitrij Rupel praised bilateral relations and voiced common interest in the EU's expansion to the Western Balkans as they addressed a joint press conference following the talks in Ljubljana on Wednesday, 6 June. Rupel pointed to Macedonia as the first in the line after Croatia, saying it could get a date for EU talks during Slovenia's presidency.

"Macedonia's prospect depends on the EU and NATO. We believe the time of accession is getting irrepressibly closer. Slovenia would like to be among those friends who support and advance this," Rupel said, reminding reporters of Slovenia's support for Macedonia in its aspirations so far.

He reiterated that "there is a possibility for Macedonia to start negotiations with the EU during Slovenia's presidency", in the first half of 2008, while he added that much would have to be done ahead of this.

Milososki said that the launch of talks was a major challenge for Macedonia and that the country would try to convince the EU with concrete results that it was fit for this step. Macedonia has the status of a candidate country since December 2005, while it still has not got the date of accession negotiations.

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