FYROM to be denied date for EU membership talks in upcoming summit, report says

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will not be given a date to start membership negotiations with the European Union in June, the MIA press agency in Skopje has reported.

An official from the Irish EU presidency told the agency that a European Council summit on June 27-28 will only discuss the possibility of granting Serbia a date for talks and of signing a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Kosovo.

“The EU countries voiced their position that now it’s not the time a progress to be made,” an official that was not identified told the agency adding that recent ethnic and political unrest in the former Yugoslav republic had undermined the state’s European ambitions.

“Good neighborly ties are necessary to open negotiations, but there was no breakthrough that would have made the European Council to reach a positive decision,” the source was quoted as saying.

FYROM has been an EU candidate state since 2005. It’s bid to join the EU and NATO has been held hostage for years by a long-running dispute with Athens over the country’s name, which Greece wants changed because it is also the name of a northern Greek province.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday urged the government of FYROM to drop its intransigence over the ongoing name dispute.

“As long as Skopje insists on the ideology of ‘makedonism,’ the gates of NATO will stay closed and its process of European integration will remain frozen,” Papoulias said in an interview with a Serbian newspaper.