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Macedonia receives recommendation to EU membership negotiations

Staff Writer |
Macedonia has a clear recommendation for the start of the European Union (EU) membership negotiations, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said.

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"After two years of conditional recommendation Macedonia returned to its path of Euro-integration," Zaev said after the European Commission (EC) Progress Report on the European Union Enlargement regarding Macedonia was published. Zaev considered this as a big day for Macedonia.

Macedonia Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani considered the positive assessment of the European Commission on Macedonia's progress as a stimulus for continuing reforms aimed at Macedonia's EU membership.

Osmani said the next step until June is to resolve the name issue with Greece, so that the EU will give a recommendation for the opening of talks.

The EU on Tuesday supported the opening of formal membership talks with Albania and Macedonia.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said the EC, the executive arm of the EU, recommended that member states open accession negotiations with Albania and Macedonia.

"A step forward today for Macedonia and Albania is a step forward for the entire region, expressing belief that the countries of the region would present concrete reform results to meet expectations of their citizens," Mogherini said in Brussels.

In a statement, EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said that "he hopes the progress report for Macedonia will be an additional motive for resolving the name issue with Greece."

Macedonia is formally called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at the UN.

However, Macedonia is also the name of a northern province in Greece and the Greek authorities are worried that the use of the same name by the neighboring state could lead to territorial claims.

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