EU-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Association Council: extracts from the joint press conference
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council/Justus Lipsius
End production: 24/07/2012 First transmission: 24/07/2012
The Stabilisation and Association Council between the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia and the European Union held its ninth meeting today in Brussels.
Both parties recalled that the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) remains
at the core of the relationship until the country's accession to the EU.
The EU further appreciated the commitment demonstrated by the government to tackle specific concerns under five priority areas: media - freedom of expression and professional standards; rule of law and fundamental rights; public administration reform; electoral reform and strengthening of market economy. The EU underlined that progress is needed in all the areas and encouraged the government to continue efforts to meet the targets.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||General view of the joint press conference
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Erato Kozakou-Marcoulis, Cypriot Minister for Foreign Affairs, saying that the European Union looks forward to the important work under the Ohrid Framework Agreement to be carried forward. The importance of the electoral reform was another point discussed today. The reform should be finalised well ahead of the municipal elections in March 2013. The EU looks forward to those elections running smoothly as free, fair and democratic elections.
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Štefan Füle, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, saying that the EU welcomed the fact that the government prepared and adopted the stock-taking report on the Ohrid Framework Agreement. This is a significant development. Based on this initial report, a set of recommendations can be produced for future actions that will strengthen the shared vision for a common future. Also important is the freedom of expression, in particular in the media. The draft law on the civil liability for insult and defamation will be a good step forward, once adopted. It is important that the law is brought in line with the European standards, in consultations with the stakeholders, and that the criminal code is revised accordingly.
||Cutaways of press (2 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (Macedonian) by Nikola Poposki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, saying that the start of accession negotiations will have a positive impact on the settlement of the name issue. The history of enlargement of the EU confirms that accession negotiations have always offered and provided the best set-up framework for settling bilateral issues.
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Teuta Arifi, Minister for European Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, saying that she would like to expect that the European Union will absolutely strengthen its enlargement orientation (Western Balkans) which is a very strong perspective for the citizens of the region who deserve it.
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Nikola Poposki saying that he government's objective and policy is the entire region of South Eastern Europe to be part of the European Union. In that respect, the regional cooperation is one of the elements. The Republic of Macedonia, in the context of taking the presidency of the South East European cooperation process this year, favours all sorts of cooperation's indiscriminately. It wants to enhance in the same way its bilateral cooperation's with Kosovo, Montenegro or Albania. The same goes to Serbia, Bulgaria or Greece, part of the EU or in the enlargement process.