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The Commission Is Ready To Present a Negotiating Framework for Macedonia

Published on , , Zagreb

The European Commission has for a fourth time recommended the Council to approve the beginning of accession negotiations with Macedonia, but this time the novelty is that the Commission is ready to put on the table an appropriate negotiating framework that can take into account the need of finding a solution to the name issue between Macedonia and Greece in the earliest possible stage of the negotiations. This is what EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said at the presentation of the annual progress reports of the candidate countries, the potential candidates and Croatia, which will officially become the 28th member state on the 1st of July 2013 if the process of ratification ends by then. Mr Fule did not elaborate on the negotiating framework but pointed out that a possible decision of the European Council for opening accession talks will create conditions for finding a solution to the name dispute.

The beginning of negotiations will also keep the pace of reforms, will reduce the risk of a reverse of the process and would enhance the inter-ethnic relations. These are extremely important issues which obviously the introduced earlier this year High Level Accession Dialogue (HLAD) cannot solve if there is no clear horizon for the beginning of negotiations, blocked by Greece since 2005 when the former Yugoslav republic received a candidate status. In general, the assessment in the course of the negotiations in the framework of HLAD is good as progress is reported in many of the points on the agenda of the initiative. One of the positive results is that the process of accession has been put in the centre of the political agenda of the ruling coalition in Skopje.

Macedonia suffers from the same problems as all the countries in the region in the area of the more popular as chapters 23 and 24 judiciary and home affairs. There the report notes progress but there is a lot of criticism as well. For example, it is pointed out that efforts are needed to ensure the independence and impartiality in practise - that is an important point, given the experience with Bulgaria and Romania which shows that often reforms are demonstrated on paper only. Efforts are needed also for the creation of transparent and clear foundations for appointment of judges and prosecutors on a merit basis. Therefore, it is recommended the Judges Academy to be supported additionally in its important role of providing professional training of personnel for the judiciary.

Regarding another painful for the region issue, which according to the refreshed enlargement strategy is in the centre of the process - corruption, organised crime and rule of law in general - in Macedonia the legislative framework is in place to fight corruption but efforts are needed to implement the existing laws. There are still no results in the persecution of high level corruption. Progress, however, is seen in persecution of organised crime, where over 100 international warrants are quoted, together with the good cooperation of the country with Interpol and Europol.

The former Yugoslav republic has serious problems with media, which are one of the main points in HLAD. In its report the Commission notes that the round table with journalists has proved an important forum for addressing the key challenges the media are facing. The government has adopted proposals for decriminalisation of defamation through the adoption of a new civil Law on Liability for Insult and Defamation. But the Criminal Code needs to be revised in order to reflect these changes. However, there are still wide spread concerns about the lack of pluralism and self-censorship in the media in Macedonia. More efforts are recommended to handle the well known in Bulgaria challenges - transparency of government advertisement and the labour rights of journalists.

In general the report notes that Macedonia maintains a constructive role in terms of bilateral relations with neighbouring countries or with other countries from the enlargement process, as the main focus is put on Greece. Since recently, however, Bulgaria is raising a voice, calling on Macedonia to understand better what "good neighbourly relations" mean and in this regard the government in Sofia is preparing a strategy for the relations of the Western Balkan countries, including Macedonia, while members of the European Parliament call for special treatment of Bulgaria's western neighbour, perceived as another obstacle on its path to starting accession negotiations.

But Commissioner Fule was unequivocal saying that it is essential the country to maintain good neighbourly relations but it seems this is always in the context of Greece. For now the country remains under monitoring and in the framework of the special dialogue, as it is highly unlikely the European Council to approve the beginning of negotiations not only because of Greece's veto, but also because of the tough agenda the European leaders have in seeking an exit from the eurozone crisis.

11 October 2012 22:33
Greece has a vast province with a name (makedonia)with 2,5million  greeks,This area includes the ancient kingdom of macedon  the  fatherland of Alexander the great and his tutor Aristotle .The ancient macedon history is the cradle of hellenism and the start of  hellenistic era that european civilization is based,along with the hellenic language which the christianity spreaded ,the Greeks can not accept a new south-slavic origin nation to monopolize the name , the history  and  the heritage of ancient macedons.Greece wants both nations to find a mutual acceptable name for this  new country  which  will clearly distinct its existance from the other neighboring countries and especially  from the north hellenic province of makedonia and its historic heritage .this will make the balkan's people to stop once for all  the antagonisms in history  ,in languages in civilizations
12 October 2012 03:41
Greece does not have right to tell to the people how they will call themself. The people from Republic Of Macedonia are the only one who will choose how their country will be called. Greece is breaking the human right with doing that pressure of one of the smallest countries in Europe. But the day is coming when Europe will understand that the Macedonians dont have problem with Greece but it is Greece who has problem with Macedonia.
12 October 2012 04:12
I have no issues whatsoever about Macedonians calling themselvesMacedonian and don’t pretend to be anything or anyone else. Increasingly, Greeks are giving signals that they too want to beMacedonian which makes things very confusing for themselves. In other words, what are they? Are they Greek? Are they Macedonian?
Or are they just confusing the whole issue because they have somethingto hide? 
12 October 2012 04:19
macedonia does not have a problem with anyone.greece and bulgaria have a problem with everyone.its very simple.
12 October 2012 05:38
Greece & Bulgaria are experts on Macedonia and the Serbs are right there as well. That is they are experts at denying human rights and justice for any and all Macedonians. By being experts they give themselves the right to steal our land, plunder our wealth and destroy our culture. Too bad they aren't experts at governing their own countries.
12 October 2012 10:01
Solution on the name issue and neighboring relations with others countries in the region  generally    are driven  mathematically into chaos and hostility, because of the sentimental dimensions  of this problem.  The  slavic population of  the ex-yugoslavic republic of macedonia (FYROM) from 1945 has been convinced by  Tito propaganda that are not akin to bulgarian nation, as it was  considered  in the past ,but a distinct nation with a name "macedonians". For this reason in 1945 a language modification and a new alphabet was implemented  for them for clear political reasons (de-bulgarianization=away from bulgarian embrace) )After 1991 yugoslavia dissolution a new additional "ethogenesis" option has been adopted  the "ancient macedonian ancestry" presenting the ancient macedonians and Alexander the great as the  same ethnicity with medieval  Bulgarian emperor Samuel and  IMRO macedonian-bulgarian  slav revolutionaries of 1900  like Gotse Delchev ,Damian Gruev,Jane Sandanski ,MEN WHO HAD A MACEDONIAN REGIONAL IDENTITY WITH BULGARIAN NATIONAL IDENTITY (britannica online encyclopedia about IMRO) This was  a  direct provocation not only to Hellenic history but also to educated humanity, Today the ordinary inhabitant of fyrom has been persuaded ,(under the last years systematical brainwash via school system and tv media propaganda  ) that his compatriots are not actually slavs, but the descendants of Aristotle and  the ancient macedonians  who were .....mixed in 6th century ac  with south slavs adopting  finally their language and fragments of slavic culture,!!! for this ,their nation and their "fatherland" is not  limited in today country's borders  but it is extended  beyond into other  neighboring countries until to mountain  Olympus in Greece ,since their macedonian nation and fatherland was divided  brutally in 1913 among Greece Bulgaria and Serbia (history  book for elementary school in fyrom).the question for the  European  "supporters'" is that, if under  these major historic and ethnic falsifications  can a mutual acceptable solution  be found ?.my opinion is negative a solution will be found only  ,when  the guided ultra nationalistic rhetoric  and  regional history falsification  be completly  isolated in this little country (FYROM )! Before it is too late for peace !!
Miss Macedonia
12 October 2012 11:40
It's interesting how as recently as 1988 'Northern Greece' suddenly became 'Macedonia'. Then suddenly they erected a statue of Alexander the Great which they would make people believe that it has been there for thousands of years like the Akropolis.  Reality is that there are Ethnic Macedonians living in Northern Greece today and they are NOT Greeks. These 'Macedonians' are denied basic human rights, their family names have been forcefully Hellenized, eg from "Nikolovski" to "Nikolou" and they are not permitted to speak the "Macedonian" language.
However, last year there was a dictionary published that you will find in Northern Greece from "Greek to Macedonian" and low and behold, Macedonian language in this book is not Greek.  Greeks are confused themselves in who they really are.  Only 180 years ago when King Otto came to rule "these people", he tried to speak to them in Greek but they mostly spoke Albanian & Turkish.  These people today are called Greeks and now you have them calling themselves Macedonian.
Anybody that goes to the archives of "New York Times" and type "Macedonian", you will find articles of "Macedonians" emigrating into the US from as far back as 1903. Guess what, they were not Greek either. Yet Greeks claim that we 'suddenly' became Macedonian 25 years ago.
12 October 2012 13:56
i will not answer to propaganda for low-level minds ,The greek literature and the greek  manuscripts  and the written  religious iconography  which is existed in   many medieval slavic monasteries around balkans  including fyrom are the living prove  what  was the spoken  language by the greeks in 17th century  However  i will stand in a clear incident showing fyrom's falsification for propaganda to  its  own people  In 1988 Greece had renamed the ministry of " north Greece " for administrative reasons to "Macedonia-Thrace"  ministry .This incident has been translated by the skopia nationalists  to their people as  a ...province's renaming . meaning that  the name macedonia for the greek  province is since 1988.........and before it was called  as north greece !!!!unbelievable !!! the conclusions  are for the europeans readers not for the lady 
12 October 2012 14:56
the "New York Times" also announcing Gotse Delhev's death  naming him   as bulgarian revolutionary........ may11 1903 
12 October 2012 15:09
I don't see what the issue is... why can't both Greece and the Republic of Macedonia use the name Macedonia??
whats the difference between Macedonia and Luxembourg? both nations have countries that border them that have provinces with the same name.... YES!! there is a Provence called Luxembourg in Belgium, but i don't recall reading anywhere about Belgium blocking Luxembourg's EU membership and asking them to change there name and identity... and just a foot note the official name of Luxembourg is Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, but i have never seen anyone refer to Luxembourg as (G.D.O.L) so why do Greeks who have officially recognized there neighbor as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia use (F.Y.R.O.M)? 
In the united states of America there are14 cities called Athens and one city called Macedonia in Ohio. why doesn't Greece complain and suggest that the Americans are stealing Greek culture and identity by using the name Athens?? lets count them...
1)Athens, Alabama
2)Athens, Georgia
3)Athens, Texas
4)Athens, Ohio
5)Athens, Illinois
6)Athens, Indiana
7)Athens, Maine
8)Athens, County Ohio
9)Athens, New York
10)Athens, Pennsylvania
11)Athens, West Virginia
12)Athens, Wisconsin
13)Athens, Louisiana
14)Athens, Michigan
& Macedonia, Ohio
12 October 2012 15:25
 The  citizens of Athens in Alabama or in Texas are not claiming Perikles as their ancestor. neither the athenian democracy as their heritage  this  is the difference 
12 October 2012 16:01
the name dispute with fyrom  is not a  technical matter,it is not just the  name.The dispute  has two major parameters one is the defalcation all the historic characteristics of an ancient hellenic tribe (the macedonians) in order  a slavic group to built artificialy 2500 years later a new nation .and the second is the irredentism  towards greece which is guided by  ultra-nationalsm of the neighboring country 
12 October 2012 16:22
haha GDOL has a point, there is also a state called Georgia in the United States and there is a former soviet republic called Georgia, I don't see the Americans carrying on about that :)
it seems Greeks are just being overly sensitive about the name issue.
12 October 2012 16:30
See the solution isn't that oh in USA we have Athens this and that , yeah its true but they are also thousands of miles away and not trying to steal a hellenic identity and if you notice right behind it you have Athens, New York - Athens , Michigan etc. you dont just have just ATHENS . In FYROM they are creating a false identity , first the capital city of Skopje was never part of Ancient Macedonia to begin with so I do not understand the beliefs they have. Second FYROM happens to be next to Greece and the region of Macedonia.
 See everyone is hating on the Greeks but the truth is Greece does not have a problem calling that 20 % region of Fyrom -Macedonia just like Bulgaria has a region called Macedonia and Greece Macedonia .
Greece has a problem trying to call a whole country Macedonia that is the issue here.
I also understand the Slavic people of FYROM when you are raised your whole life being told lies in your country , you naturally believe them. Greece does go up in a rukus everytime because we actually have facts backing them up. H(ISTORIC facts.
Greeks happen to be Athenians, Spartans, Macedonians etc.
Its a shame that this has continued for so long but a country like FYROM , they deny numerous times that they are trying to steal a greek identity but continue to do so. If they were not stealing why would they not call all the statues the are building by the actual names and not warrior on a horse etc.
whats in a name?
12 October 2012 16:43
there are also two provinces in Iran called East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan which border the Republic of Azerbaijan. I can't find any reference to Iran blocking there use of the word Azerbaijan.
it would seem that the concept of having  an independent state using the same name as a provence in a neighboring country is not unique to Macedonia and Greece.
it seems Greece is just blowing this issue out of proportion.
whats in a name?
12 October 2012 17:41
oh i just found on Google map that there is also a Republic of Karelia in the Russian Federation as well as regions in Finland called North and South Karelia which border the Russian Republic, and then there is the Provence of Niger in the Federal Republic of Nigeria which has the same name as the Republic of Niger in Africa, no name disputes there ether, and lets not forget the Republic of Ireland which borders the British administered Northern Ireland. So based on these precedences, Macedonia should continue using the term Republic of Macedonia and Greece can continue using West Macedonia, Central Macedonia and East Macedonia and Trace as it has done since 1988, and if Bulgaria wants to weigh in they can rename there province of Blagoevgrad to North Macedonia.
12 October 2012 17:51
haha... problem solved!!! well done...
12 October 2012 20:34
See the only problem is that Greece acctually is blocking this country for EU and Nato .. also every nation in this world has a right to call themselfs like they want to. Nobody can do nothing about that. But we are withness of not giving the right to the people of Macedonia to call themselfs Macedonians and thats not democracy. But one thing is for sure, more than a half nations of this world has recognized Macedonia as Macedonia and country of Macedonian people and Greece cant do nothing about that.
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