NEWS

Relief over EU report on FYROM

Greek Euro MPs yesterday expressed their «full satisfaction» with the approval of a European Union progress report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) that calls for a settlement to the Macedonia name dispute before the launch of accession talks between Skopje and the EU. The report had originally noted that the name dispute should not pose a barrier for FYROM’s participation in international organizations. But after much lobbying by Greek Euro MPs, this section was amended. The revised report was yesterday approved in Strasbourg – the seat of the European Parliament – by 605 MPs with 55 no votes and 22 abstentions. Although the European Parliament has only an advisory role in the Macedonia name dispute, Greek deputies were concerned that the original message conveyed by the report would turn public opinion in Europe against Greece. The report urged Athens and Skopje to «immediately restart talks.» It said it hoped FYROM could start EU accession talks «before the end of 2008.»