UMD Commends EC’s Macedonia Progress Report, Urges Opening Accession Talks

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) commends the fifth consecutive progress report by the European Commission on Macedonia, which suggests that Macedonia should immediately without delay start accession negotiations with the EU. UMD joins the European Commission in urging the European Council to make the right decision this December.

In 2001, Macedonia was the first country to sign a EU Stabilization and Association Agreement, and became a candidate country, eight years ago, in 2005. Following five consecutive recommendations by the European Commission, the European Council has yet to unanimously agree on opening accession negotiations with Macedonia. UMD urges the European Council to not allow one member-state to continuously blackmail and force upon other member-states to impose pre-conditions for opening accession negotiations. UMD strongly believes decisions or lack thereof by the European Council not only affect Macedonia, but also the stability of the region and the EU enlargement process as a whole.

“Macedonia’s EU path can no longer be stalled, and EU leadership needs to mediate both sides to move this dispute aside for the benefit of the Union and the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia. If the EU upholds basic human rights, such as the right of self-determination, then conditioning the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia to change the name of their country is hypocritical,” said UMD Co-Founder and Vice President Aleksandar Mitreski.

“In spite of the European Council’s failure to deliver a start date, UMD strongly believes Macedonia must continue the necessary reforms, and urges the Macedonian government to implement the European Commission’s recommendations in the 2013 progress report, specifically, electoral reform, the rule of law, and reforms of the judicial system,” said UMD Benelux Representative Filip Altiparmakovski. “We believe particular attention should be paid to the freedom of expression and the media. UMD expresses concern over the prison sentence of journalist T. Kezarovski and hopes that a prompt legal remedy will occur in his case.”

UMD appreciates the active role and engagement of EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule, who will be meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski this Friday, in Brussels.

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