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Macedonia Risks Being Left Behind In EU Enlargement Process

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The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia risks being left behind in the EU enlargement process, but is the key to other Balkans countries joining too, the annual debate on the country’s progress in the European Parliament was told Wednesday.

British Labour Euro MP Richard Howitt who is Rapporteur for the country’s EU accession hit out at attempts to delete reference to the country’s success in the European Basketball Championships as failing to distinguish between legitimate national pride and illegitimate political nationalism.

The resolution prepared by Richard Howitt MEP and voted by MEPs calls for the start of EU accession talks “without delay” and welcomes the high level accession dialogue starting this week as “an opportunity not to be missed.”

The Euro MP warned the debate in Strasbourg, France, there was no “short-cut” to a negotiated solution to the long-running name dispute between the country and Greece, but deliberately uses the term “Macedonian” to refer to language, culture and identity, which he pointed out meets the existing UN accord.

Richard Howitt MEP told the debate:

“This is a country which is about to Chair the Regional Cooperation Council. It hosted the meeting of Ministers of European Integration from across the Balkans in the wake of this year’s Commission Progress Reports. It is a country which has excellent relations with both Serbia and Kosovo.

“Its progress points to the European future of every single one of the countries. But it has to be a European future for every one of the countries.”

Challenging those who he said would unbalance the resolution and send the wrong message to the country, Richard Howitt MEP added:

“Those who wish to delete my reference to the country’s success in the Basketball Championships are wrong.

“It shows we can appreciate legitimate national pride at the same time as warning against illegitimate political nationalism.

“For those who are erecting hoops through which the country must jump, this is one very apt metaphor that they can do it.

“And to those who seek to delete use of the term “Macedonian” to refer to the country’s language and culture, even though it meets the UN accord, you would be sending a signal that we do not understand the feelings of the people of the country or express our desire to back a solution which is fair and just to all.”

Richard Howitt MEP also said recent incidents of inter-ethnic conflict in the country should be heeded in Brussels:

“As I was told in the country: Like a bicycle, for stability you need to keep moving forward,” he added.

The European Parliament backed Richard Howitt MEP’s resolution by 582 votes to 70.

3 thoughts on “Macedonia Risks Being Left Behind In EU Enlargement Process

  • Avatar
    March 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm
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    It looks like Greece and Bulgaria love the Macedonian history.Bulgaria is asking Macedonia to celebrate “our”common heroes.
    What common heroes,Goce Delchev,Damian Gruev,Jane Sandanski,Pitu Guli,and the first President of Macedonia Nikola Karev?.Are they in the right mind?.The Greek and Bulgarian MEPs are forgetting the atrocities they inflicted againts the Macedonian population during the first World War and again the second War.Greece continued to carry on atrocities againts macedonians in occupied Aegean Macedonia since 1913 and before that.
    Former PM Rallis interview of 1903 for the New York Times will attest to that.
    Did Greece spare some EU money to pay off the Lithuanian MEP to vote againts the Richard Howitt report?Greece is used to spending money they don’t have for political means as they have done it in 1995 with 130 million dollars payout to the news media and politicians againts the Republic of Macedonia and the indigenouse Macedonian minority in Greece.
    It is a shame,for the Greek politicians to spent so much money just to advance their political careers.The question now is;How much of the borrowed money will these same thieves will spent for their own re-election,and how long will they use Macedonia as a political football in their elections in April?.
    Greece and Bulgaria are the real thieves of history.All Macedonia does,is reclaiming its own history after it received its independence.
    Is this so hard for EU and Nato to understand?.
    Did EU or Nato send a note of protest when the church of Salonika threatend to demolish the new radio station in Ovcharani(Melitis)for broadcasting in the Macedonian language?
    The Macedonian minority do pay taxes that supports the clergis income.Don’t these tax payers have the same rights as all other citizens?.
    Both these countries are members of EU and Nato,and are the worst when it comes to observing the Human Rights.Look at the UN Human Rights report.

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  • Avatar
    March 17, 2012 at 3:21 am
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    Peter, which atrocities do you refer to? The region of Macedonia and Thrace were under Ottoman control, it is now 100 years since Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria liberated those regions. Why is it that Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece were the countries that fought for these regions against the Ottomans, where are the “Macedonians”, Serbian, Bulgarian or both? The history of FYROM has so many holes in it any historian from that country would be laughed out of any real world university. FYROM must invent and identity and history to fight off the Albanian/Kosovan advance which has already started. Better you called yourselves Vardaskan and left your neighbors alone. Lets not forget the stupid amounts of money Gruevski spends on statues while unemployment is 30%+. The only friend you have left is Turkey who aren’t exactly favourites of NATO/EU. Soon you will discover the meaning of “sunk-cost fallacy”, best abandoned the nationalism long time ago but it’s already too late, you’ve gone this far.

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  • Avatar
    March 17, 2012 at 3:24 am
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    And who cares about basketball?! LOL Greece won the euro 2004, what does that have to do with anything politically related? Even Turkey, Israel and Georgia play in EU events.

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