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Monday, April 23, 2018, 

Macedonia expects unconditional EC recommendation for launch of accession talks

Macedonia expects unconditional EC recommendation for launch of accession talks

Skopje, 17 April 2018 (MIA) - The European Commission is expected Tuesday to recommend the unconditional opening accession negotiations with Macedonia in its draft-report, obtained by MIA. However, sources in Brussels told that the wording can be changed at the last minute.

"In light of the progress achieved, the European Commission recommends that accession negotiations be opened with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Maintaining and deepening the current reform momentum on the Urgent Reform Priorities will be decisive for the country's further progress. To support this, the Commission would apply the reinforced approach for the negotiating chapters on judiciary and fundamental rights and justice, freedom and security to the country," reads the EC report.

It adds that the country has largely overcome its deep political crisis, while the necessary structural reforms are a lengthy process which will take years and the damage of recent years cannot be undone overnight.

The Commission welcomes the work done to address the Urgent Reform Priorities "through a genuine desire to reform and an objective assessment of the situation, followed by the preparation of overdue strategies and legislation, and consultation of all stakeholders, including the opposition, in an inclusive and transparent manner."

The EC says it is even more important that the political will to move forward is once again clearly present.

"A positive change in the political mind-set has been seen across society, the lack of which has been a major impediment to reforms in recent years," reads the report.

EC sources told MIA that the commissioners should once again meet before finalizing the report, with changes in the wording still a possibility.

It is a fact that we have done the job and Macedonia deserves a crystal clear recommendation from Brussels, said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Monday, in light of tomorrow's release of the European Commission Progress Report.

"The wording of that recommendation is important, because it will either encourage or discourage us. This is important for the citizens and everyone involved in the reform processes. We expect a crystal clear recommendation if the job done is validated. I believe we deserve this and it will represent an additional motivation for us to move on with the reforms," PM Zaev told reporters after a court hearing.

The European Commission is to release Tuesday annual progress reports on the countries working towards EU membership. Following the presentation, EU Ambassador to Macedonia Samuel Zbogar is to hold a press conference. ik/sk/09:04

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