An appeal for patience in Skopje but impatience in Brussels has come from the European Parliament Rapporteur for the country’s EU accession, in response to today’s (Friday 14 December) European Council Conclusions on Enlargement.
Richard Howitt MEP is calling for intense diplomatic activity from the forthcoming Irish EU Presidency, using the new European Commission report to be completed during the first half of the year, for a “final push” to secure a summer deal for negotiations for open with the Government in Skopje.
Richard Howitt MEP (Labour, UK) said at the conclusion of the December European Council today, “I understand frustration in Skopje and across the country that this December European Council has not set a date, but ask for further understanding that today we have a real step forward with a time-specific commitment and process.
“Equally all EU States must realise that if reforms are delivered we need a 2013 decision to ensure the credibility of the EU’s Enlargement process or risk a crisis of faith,” Howitt.
Howitt said he welcomed Prime Minister Gruevski’s commitment to “redouble” reform efforts, and this will I believe bear fruit.
“Both I as the European Parliament Rapporteur and Stefan Fule as Enlargement Commissioner will be travelling to Skopje early in 2013 to back a huge push into Spring and help create the necessary momentum towards the two European Council meetings on May 30 and June 27/28,” Howitt said, adding “There has been more frantic discussion on the country in the last week then in the last decade. The spotlight is on, now is the time for the play to begin.”