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Sunday, April 22, 2018, 

Kukan welcomes Macedonian neighborly initiatives, warns against doing damage to Macedonian interests

Kukan welcomes Macedonian neighborly initiatives, warns against doing damage to Macedonian interests

Strasbourg, 16 July 2017 (MIA) - Slovak member of the European Parliament Eduard Kukan told MIA in a brief interview that the European Parliament looks favorably at the initial moves of the new Macedonian Government meant to remove blockades from Greece and Bulgaria to our future European integration.

"I think it is the correct strategy, but it is necessary to be patient and not to do damage to your own interests. I welcome the new initiatives with Bulgaria, but I know that there are two very difficult and sensitive issues that are unresolved - the issue of the Macedonian language which many in Bulgaria consider to be a Bulgarian dialect and the joint commemoration of historic events", Kukan said, adding that both are very tricky issues and Macedonia will need to show initiative, but also look after its own interests. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, after a visit to Sofia, announced that the agreement will be signed on August 2nd, when the 1903 Ilinden Uprising is celebrated.

Regarding the talks with Greece, Kukan said that the mediator Matthew Nimetz will bring no new proposals during his upcoming visit to Brussels where he is set to meet the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias. "My God, I don't know how much longer he will hold this office", Kukan said of Nimetz, adding that members of the European Parliament look favorably to the initiative for talks from the new Macedonian Government. "But, the price that needs to be paid for these agreements mustn't be at the cost of Macedonia. This is what worries me", Kukan added.

Regarding the tense relations between the SDSM led majority in Parliament and the VMRO-DPMNE opposition, Kukan said that he expects that the opposition supports the Government on issues that matter to both sides, and that Brussels will also evaluate how responsibly the opposition acts.

The former Slovak Foreign Minister also addressed the issue of the Special Prosecutor, for which he said that many fear that it is being abused for political vendettas. "It is important to look at the issue objectively, without political interests. It is important to investigate the issues objectively, without politically abusing the issue, but at the same time, we can't just act as if nothing happened. The new Government will be judged based on how it solves these issues", Kukan said.

He refrained from making estimates whether Macedonia could open EU accession talks soon, and said that Brussels would likely re-examine the political situation in Macedonia in three to four months time.cc/13:26


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