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Saturday, June 23, 2018, 

British Ambassador: Macedonia should mount high hill to start EU accession talks

British Ambassador: Macedonia should mount high hill to start EU accession talks

Skopje, 24 December 2017 (MIA) - Macedonia should work hard in order to obtain a date for starting the EU accession talks next year, British Ambassador Charles Garrett says in an interview with the Radio Free Europe.

Macedonia should implement the reform plan 3-6-9, set itself free from the 'captured state' and address the name issue, Garret says.

'Difficult decisions and genuine political courage are required for finding an appropriate solution to the name issue,' the British Ambassador says.

It is clear, he notifies, that the government is determined to move forward, to deal with the 'captured state' and advance the reform program.

'Several useful, concrete steps forward have been undertaken. But the road for dealing with the captured state is rather long, which requires substantial, long-term effort. Real program for including citizens in the process is needed for them to approve the reforms. The civic society should be also included. This is not a sprint, but a marathon,' Garrett says.

The country should focus its efforts on reforms, clearly notified in the 3-6-9 plan, Garrett says.

'We are rather pleased that the British Embassy may work together with Macedonian partners on a range of reforms we believe to be urgent and significant and may benefit most from the British expertise. It refers to sectors, such as the public administration and intelligence system, as well as the strategic defense review, something that was mentioned often during the visit of Defense Minister Radmila Sekerisnka to London,' Garret says.

He considers as justified the expectation of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev for Macedonia to obtain a date for starting the EU accession talks in June of 2018.

'I believe that you should climb a rather high hill to get there by the middle of the next year. There is a lot to be done in regard to the 3-6-9 plan, the captured state and naturally the name issue...So the task is difficult but is correct to be an optimist. If you don't set your goals high, there could be no great achievements,' Garret says. lk/12:35

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