In light of the Council of Ministers meeting this week in Brussels, UMD distributed the following one-page document to EU officials.
10 reasons why the European Union should start accession negotiations with the Republic of Macedonia (hereinafter Macedonia) without delay:
1. Macedonia has a natural right to determine its own name, identity, culture and history, and nationalistic Greek objections are based on irrational fears, ethnic bigotry, and a desire to further oppress the large ethnic Macedonian minority in northern Greece.
2. Macedonia is a sovereign, independent country that respects EU’s stated principles and values.
3. Macedonia has been granted candidate status in 2005, has met all required Copenhagen criteria, as well as the additional benchmarks requested by the European Commission. It is beyond ready by any measure.
4. In the Annual Progress Report 2011, the European Commission has recommended – for a third year in a row – to open the negotiations for Macedonia’s EU accession.
5. For years, the Council of Ministers has claimed to be “deliberating” on the Commission’s repeated recommendations for negotiations to begin, but this delay has had nothing to do with the merit of the country’s progress; it is only related to political interference by Greece. This hypocrisy threatens European legitimacy.
6. With a landslide vote of 506 votes in favor, 44 against and 44 abstentions, in April 2011, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution calling on the European Council to set a date for a start of the accession negotiations with Macedonia.
7. The International Court of Justice ruled on December 5, 2011, that Greece is breaking international law by vetoing Macedonia’s accession into international organizations.
8. At the Council Summit in December 2011, other regional countries are likely to start negotiations despite very little preparation. It is an important opportunity for Macedonia to not be passed by these other countries. To do so would further make a mockery of the process.
9. Because of constant postponements, there is an understandable decrease of the support in the country for Euro-integration. Today, 76% of Macedonians support EU integration, as opposed to 97% in 2004.
10. Leaving Macedonia outside of the EU may cause instability in the region.
Support Macedonia to receive a date for accession talks this December 2011, at the Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels!
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