EU-former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Stabilisation and Association Council: extracts from the press conference
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council / Justus Lipsius
End production: 23/07/2013 First transmission: 23/07/2013
The European Union and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia held a Stabilisation and Association Council meeting today in Brussels.
Ministers discussed the progress made by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia towards opening EU membership negotiations in the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||General view of the press conference
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Linas Antanas Linkevičius, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lithuania: The EU looks forward to the important work to be carried forward. We spoke about the importance of building bridges, politically with the Parliament, societal with the civil society, representatives of the media, ethnically across the different groups in the country, and with neighbours in the region.
||SOUNDBITE (Macedonian) by Nikola Poposki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: We have underlined the benefits of the accession dialogue that facilitated progress in key reform areas. We were pleased to conclude that Macedonia has a pro-active role and attitude towards pursuing reforms. Progress was noted in advancing the relations with all neighbouring countries, including the two EU Member States Bulgaria and Greece and including efforts to overcome the name issue within the UN framework. We also talked about the Stabilisation and Association Agreement that has been implemented for 10 years now. Macedonia fulfils all provisions of this agreement, according to which in 2014 Macedonia should be already in advanced stage of accession to the EU.
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Štefan Füle, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy: The full implementation of the 1st March political agreement is essential. We had welcomed the fact that the Committee of inquiry was established. So I regret we hear now that the Chair has tended his resignation. We understand that progress has been achieved. It is therefore important that the work continues to reach mutual agreed finding and forward-looking recommendations. Recommendations should then be translated into action to provide a positive political agenda. As regards the priorities of the accession dialogue, let me point to freedom of expression and particularly in the media. Dialogue with media is essential in order to rebuild the trust between the media community and the government, carry out the reforms necessary for pluralism and freedom of expression in your country. It is also important that comments and recommendations on the new media law are properly taken into account. Third, on electoral reform, we welcomed that discussions on amendments to the electoral legislation have been launched. It is important that all shortcomings and recommendations are addressed as early as possible and in full inclusive manner.