Macedonia will become EU member
The question whether Macedonia will join the European Union is finally closed today, Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski said Wednesday in his address to the public regarding the European Commission positive opinion on the country's application for the EU membership.
"The answer is YES. We have the EC opinion, which is obviously an outstanding instrument that will substantially improve and accelerate the process for our integration with the EU," Buckovski said.
Macedonia is ready to take historical responsibility and fully comply with the European standards, giving its modest, but significant contribution to the European prosperity of the entire region, Buckovski said.
He considers that the EC positive opinion significantly improves Macedonia's credibility, putting it on an accelerated track towards EU.
"Detailed EC analysis and its positive opinion also presents a confirmation for foreign businessmen that their investments have a future in this country," Buckovski said.
Now, as the PM said, the question is when Macedonia will become the EU member. "The answer is up to us," he added.
With its opinion on Macedonia, the EU sent a significant message to the region - the European transformation is possible for all and depends on us, Vice-Premier Radmila Sekerinska said.
"This is a great day for the Republic of Macedonia. The positive opinion recognizes all of our efforts. Starting from today, the country's European perspective becomes a reality. It (the opinion) is a confirmation that the respect of European principles, active policy and reforms are the right path to realization of our vision - the EU membership," Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva said.
EC recommends to Macedonian authorities to address the shortcomings identified in the electoral process and ensure a free and fair process in the next parliamentary elections, improve the public administration capacity, strengthen the judicial system, in particular anti-corruption legislation. Improving of the business climate and continual implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement are also notified as Macedonia's priorities.
Macedonia has stable democratic institutions, which function properly, , the EC says in its analytical report.
There has been a strong commitment to the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement and important progress made since the crisis in 2001. To further strengthen the climate of confidence and consolidate achievements, the government should continue effective implementation of the Agreement, the report says.
The rule of law is being gradually consolidated. Considerable efforts at reforming the police have been made since the crisis in 2001, which is crucial for more effective policing and the prevention of the possible escalation of incidents.
EC also points out that Macedonia fully co-operates with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, saying that the country has ratified a bilateral immunity agreement with the USA regarding the International Criminal Court, which is not in line with the relevant EU guiding principles.
The country is committed to regional co-operation. Sustained efforts are needed in this area, in particular in order to resolve the name issue with Greece in the interest of good neighbourly relations, EC report says.