EU FYROM report fuels concern

Foreign Ministry sources have expressed their displeasure with a European Union progress report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, due to be approved at the European Parliament’s plenary session next week, which pushes for the launch of EU accession talks with Skopje this year irrespective of whether FYROM’s name dispute with Greece is resolved or not. According to sources the report, written by Dutch Euro MP Erik Meijer and backed by an overwhelming majority of deputies, proposes FYROM’s accession to the EU and NATO and calls on Greece to waive its right to veto Skopje, arguing that FYROM’s membership of both international alliances would boost stability in the Balkans. Furthermore, the report calls for EU accession talks with FYROM to begin this year. Greek Euro MPs are reportedly seeking to push through amendments to the final text of the report but it is clear that the climate in the European Parliament is not supportive of Greece’s arguments. The head of ruling New Democracy’s Euro MPs, Ioannis Varviotsis, admitted that Greece was partly to blame for the development. «The Macedonia name issue is a series of missed opportunities,» Varvitsiotis told Kathimerini. Stavros Lambrinidis, who leads main opposition PASOK’s group of Euro MPs, said Greece should have taken the initiative and briefed other countries on its position. «In Greece we have been inactive in formulating foreign policy over the past few years, so many other member states are not aware of our positions or have only a sketchy idea,» he said. As for the author of the report, Meijer said the priority was to find a solution to the name dispute that allows FYROM to join the EU. «I understand Greece’s (decision) to veto but I don’t like it,» he said.

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