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Macedonia likely to start EU accession talks in fall
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09:10, July 24, 2009

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Macedonia likely to start EU accession talks in fall
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EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn answers reporters' questions during a news conference in Brussels July 15, 2009. The EU executive proposed on Wednesday allowing citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, which have been promised eventual EU membership, to travel to the European Union without visas from the start of next year.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


The EU enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, said on Thursday that he expects Macedonia to start accession talks with the EU this fall, news reaching here from Skopje reported.

"There are real chances for Macedonia to meet the requirements and get a date for opening accession talks with EU this fall," Rehn told a joint press conference with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

Macedonia has been awarded an EU membership candidate status since 2005. For years, it has been longing to get a date to start entry talks.

"However, it will depend on whether the results can be delivered in the next two months. And I expect Macedonia to demonstrate the political will in meeting the requirements on judiciary and public administrations," Rehn said.

Rehn also urged Macedonia to resolve the 18-year-long name dispute with its southern neighbor Greece, saying the start of accession talks requires the consent of all EU members. Greece is an EU member state.

Athens has been opposed to its neighbor being called the "Republic of Macedonia," arguing it implies a territorial claim over a Greek northern province also called Macedonia.

Macedonia's NATO membership was blocked by Greece over the dispute between the two countries in April last year at a NATO summit in Romania.

Source: Xinhua



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