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Monday, June 25, 2018, 

EU draft-conclusions foresee opening of negotiations with Macedonia

EU draft-conclusions foresee opening of negotiations with Macedonia

Brussels, 14 June 2018 (MIA) - A draft-document circulating in the Council of the EU recommends the opening of accession talks between the EU and Macedonia, but these conclusions are yet to be discussed as France remains reserved on the matter, diplomatic sources in Brussels told MIA.

According to the draft-conclusions on Macedonia, the Council urges the European Commission to start with preparations and it points out the critical need of FYROM to continue the progress in the urgent reform priorities and to yield tangible results in the fight against corruption, and to maintain and heighten the reform momentum.

This version of the conclusions, however, is an 'old' draft and doesn't mention the name deal reached between Greece and Macedonia on June 12. But, this draft was debated yesterday by the ambassadors of EU countries. According to sources attending the meeting, a decision wasn't reached and France is still reserved as regards the opening of negotiations with Macedonia. Talks were held in 'pleasant atmosphere', also with the participation of Greek representatives.

Next week, ambassadors should convene once again. The presidency is supposed to put forward the revised draft-conclusions that will include the latest development of events in Macedonia, namely the name agreement that should be reportedly signed over the weekend and its anticipated ratification in Parliament.

The upcoming ambassadorial meeting is important because it is expected to shine a light on the outcome of the European Union considering the start of accession talks with Macedonia, but it is the June 25 meeting of the foreign ministers that holds a key importance. If the ambassadors fail to reach a consensus by the end of next week, the issue will be forwarded to the ministers, while the EU heads of state and government will have the final say on June 28-29.

Until then, the main condition to make France change its mind is the process of settling the name dispute to be implemented without interruptions.

Furthermore, top diplomatic sources say they are 'convinced' that Macedonia will get the green light for negotiations in June. It would be 'unthinkable' to leave Macedonia without some kind of an award for reaching an agreement with Greece, but no one dares to give any guarantee, MIA reports. ba/19:24

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