EC progress report: Macedonia is ready to start accession talks.

By bne IntelliNews October 12, 2011
The European Commission (EC) has issued its progress report on Macedonia, in which the EC concluded that the country continues to sufficiently fulfill the political criteria and is ready to start accession talks. This is the third consecutive year the EC confirms its recommendation for launching accession negotiations. The EC observed that the general elections in June were largely in line with international standards. The EC also noted that some progress has been made in the fields of the judiciary and public administration, particularly with regard to the legal framework. However, the EC also observed that further efforts are necessary to ensure effective implementation, especially in the areas of judicial and administrative reform, corruption fighting and freedom of expression in the media. The document also reports that there is a need for strengthening the dialogue between the government and the opposition. Meanwhile, Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule told the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs that the settlement of the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece is crucial for starting the accession talks with Macedonia. He noted that the prospect of joining EU has been a driver of the reform process, but the continued impasse over the name issue has reduced the motivation for reforms.

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