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President of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, Dr Rupel, visits Skopje

photo BOBO

President of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Dimitrij Rupel, today visited the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where he spoke with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Milošoski, and was also received by the President of the Sobranje (Parliament), Ljubiša Georgievski, and the President of the Republic, Branko Crvenkovski.

In his talks, Dr Rupel explained in particular the efforts of the Slovenian EU Presidency to revive the Thessaloniki Agenda, which in 2003 assured the entire Western Balkans of a future in Europe. This included efforts to expedite the procedure for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s membership of the European Union. In this context, the President of the EU Council, Dr Rupel, said that the chances were good that this country, which had signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement some time previously, could this year start negotiations on accession to the EU.

“The European Commission’s Report for 2007 shows that the country has made progress but there are still some unresolved issues,” said the Foreign Minister, and cautioned that the European Commission would soon be sending Skopje a list of points to be resolved as soon as possible. “A few more steps are needed,” added Dr Rupel, and invited his Macedonian colleagues to proceed apace.

The President of the EU Council also announced the beginning of the visa liberalisation talks, although, according to the EU’s internal organisation, this falls within the competence of Ministers of Home Affairs. In any case, the Slovenian Presidency sincerely hopes that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will join the European Union as soon as possible, but, as the Minister warned, these are the decisions to be adopted by the EU by common consent.


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Date: 01.02.2008