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Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 

Macedonia to get EU negotiations date by July: EU sources

Macedonia to get EU negotiations date by July: EU sources

Brussels, 16 April 2018 (MIA) - EU member countries want Macedonia to be given a date to start accession talks by July at the latest, MIA has learned from top diplomatic sources in Brussels.

Bulgaria's presidency would like a date to be set in June while Bulgaria still holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, MIA's Brussels correspondent reports. But if it seems impossible, most EU countries would like a date to be fixed in July at the latest during Austria's presidency 'even if the name dispute isn't fully resolved but only if it is on its way to being settled," the sources has told MIA.

A 'very positive' atmosphere prevails in the member countries towards Macedonia and its progress in terms of reform implementation. "The atmosphere is so positive, it would make it difficult to Greece to block the setting of a date for negotiations, and unless Greece found a way to block it, it wouldn't make Greece look good," diplomatic sources from a key EU player have told MIA.

The sources say that most member countries, including the big ones, wish a date for start of membership talks was given 'in a package' to both to Macedonia and Albania, whose reform progress is also hailed in Brussels.

Albania also has open issues with Greece, but it seems Greece steers clear of imposing a direct blockade, MIA has learned. ba/20:13

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