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Friday, July 20, 2018, 

EC to launch technical part of screening process for Macedonia next week

EC to launch technical part of screening process for Macedonia next week

Brussels, 13 July 2018 (MIA) - The 14th meeting of EU-Macedonia Stabilisation and Association Council, chaired by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, was held Friday in Brussels. The meeting was also attended by Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn as the European Commission representative, while Macedonia’s delegation, led by Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, also included the Vice-Premier for European Affairs, Bujar Osmani.

All attendants of today’s meeting voiced satisfaction with the latest developments related to Macedonia – a start of EU accession talks in June next year, NATO membership invitation and the bilateral deals with Greece and Bulgaria.

‘Four weeks ago I had the honor to witness, together with Commissioner Hahn, the signature of the historic name agreement with Greece. We hope that all leaders, all political parties, all citizens will now engage constructively for the ratification and the implementation not only of the agreement signed with Greece, but also the agreement signed with Bulgaria,’ Mogherini told a press conference after the EU-Macedonia SAC meeting.

Commissioner Hahn also called on all parties in the country to engage in a constructive dialogue and continue to deepen the current reform momentum, especially on the rule of law, the intelligence service and public administration.

‘I would be in Skopje on July 17, which means next Tuesday, to launch the start of the technical part of the screening process together with the government and administration. But I would also like to express, on a very personal note, my congratulations for the invitation you have received yesterday by NATO to start the accession talks. This is another positive milestone in your Euro-Atlantic path, which will benefit primarily the citizens of your country,’ Hahn said.

FM Dimitrov expressed hope for the next year EU-Macedonia SAC meeting to be held simultaneously with the first intergovernmental conference that would formally mark the start of the country’s accession talks.

‘Over one year ago, at the previous council, we said we would return Macedonia on the right path, the European path. Today, one year after, no one doubts that we are on the right path.  We have been encouraged by the decision of the European Council, which opens the path towards accession talks in June 2019,’ Dimitrov said.

Vice-Premier Osmani extended gratitude to Mogherini and Hahn over their personal contribution to Macedonia’s progress on the road to EU membership.

The SA Council recalled that the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) remains at the core of the relationship between the EU and Macedonia until the country’s accession to the EU, participants in today’s meeting said in a joint press statement.

‘The SA Council took note of the country’s primary objective to open accession negotiations and acknowledged the government’s strong commitment to this purpose. The SA Council welcomed the EU’s recent setting out of the path towards opening accession negotiations in June 2019 based on continued progress and tangible results, maintaining and deepening the current reform momentum. The SA Council took note of the intention of the Commission and government to begin the necessary preparatory work,’ the joint statement reads. lk/17:17

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