UMD Urges EU Leaders to Support Macedonia

November 1, 2011 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) urged today all twenty-seven European Union (EU) members’ Heads of State to support the Republic of Macedonia’s EU aspirations.  Macedonia has been an EU candidate since 2005.

In the letter to all EU leaders from UMD Board Chairman Stojan Nikolov and UMD President Metodija A. Koloski, UMD called on the EU leaders to follow the recommendations by the European Commission, for the last three years, and grant Macedonia its well-deserved start for accession talks at the upcoming December Council meeting.

Macedonia’s start of EU accession talks has been blocked for the last two years by EU member-state Greece.  The blockade “has had nothing to do with the merit of (Macedonia’s) progress,” said Nikolov and Koloski.  “Instead, it is an (EU) appeasement of Greece’s open hostility towards Macedonia, the Macedonian identity and language, and the ethnic Macedonian minority in northern Greece.”

Nikolov and Koloski furthered emphasized that “when the Council refuses to open negotiations in deference to Greece, and when it continues to challenge the Republic of Macedonia’s name, identity, and language, the EU violates the European Convention on Human Rights, and its own principles of mutual respect, national dignity, and self-determination.” 

At the Council Summit in December 2011, Montenegro (a country granted candidate status five years after the Republic of Macedonia) will start negotiations for accession, and Serbia will achieve candidate status. 

UMD believes this is an important opportunity for the Republic of Macedonia to start negotiations, as recommended by the European Commission repeatedly in the last three progress reports on the country.

Text of the full letter sent to the EU leaders is below:

On behalf of the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) and the millions of Macedonians living in Europe, we would like to congratulate you on your able leadership of (name of country inserted) and wish you, your country, and your people well.  We are writing to ask for your support of the Republic of Macedonia and the country’s European Union (EU) aspirations.

Founded in 2004, UMD is a leading international non-governmental and non-profit organization advocating for the interests and needs of Macedonians worldwide.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., UMD has built a formidable advocacy and operations network throughout the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Europe, with membership spanning across six continents. 

We would like to draw your attention to the latest European Commission Progress Report for Accession of the Republic of Macedonia in the EU.  In the report, the EC recommends – for a third year in a row – that the Council of Ministers formally open the negotiations for future EU accession.

The Macedonian government has worked tirelessly to move closer to the doors of the EU, completing the Copenhagen Criteria and the additional benchmarks from the European Commission.  After fulfilling the necessary requirements, the Republic of Macedonia should expect a start date for accession talks this December, at the Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels.

For the last two years, however, the Council has been “deliberating” on the Commission’s repeated recommendations for negotiations to begin.  This delay has had nothing to do with the merit of the country’s progress.  Instead, it is an appeasement of Greece’s open hostility towards Macedonia, the Macedonian identity and language, and the ethnic Macedonian minority in northern Greece.

When the Council refuses to open negotiations in deference to Greece, and when it continues to challenge the Republic of Macedonia’s name, identity, and language, the EU violates the European Convention on Human Rights, and its own principles of mutual respect, national dignity, and self-determination.  Consequently, the reputation of the EU suffers, which we fear may lead to very negative consequences in the long run.

At the Council Summit in December 2011, Montenegro (a country granted candidate status five years after the Republic of Macedonia) will start negotiations for accession, and Serbia will achieve candidate status.  This is an important opportunity for the Republic of Macedonia to start negotiations, as recommended by the European Commission repeatedly.

We sincerely believe that you, as a Prime Minister of (name of country inserted), understand the unreasonable predicament the Republic of Macedonia finds itself in.  On behalf of UMD, we ask you to support the start of negotiations for Macedonia, to help ensure the country’s European future.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,
                                
Stojan Nikolov      
Chairman, Board of Directors    

Metodija A. Koloski
President

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