Howitt: Status Quo On FYR Macedonia ‘Not An Option”


Speaking at the first presentation of his draft report Tuesday on the progress of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia towards EU accession, European Parliament Rapporteur Richard Howitt MEP said, “I have deliberately put the call for a date to start accession negotiations without delay as paragraph one, sentence one to send a clear message both here in Brussels but in the country too.”

Commenting on his decision to use the adjective “Macedonian” to refer to the country’s language, culture and identity which the European Commission has declined to do in its own Progress Report during the last two years, Richard Howitt MEP added, “I do so not to provoke anyone but to recognise this is fully consistent with United Nations practice and the international accord, to honour the promise I made to put before Parliament the compromise reached at the joint parliamentary committee, and to demonstrate to the people of the country that we have seen and listened to the negative reaction on this point to the European Commission’s report.”

Concluding his presentation, Richard Howitt MEP said, “I want to emphasise status quo is not an option for inter-ethnic relations in the country, for stability in the region or for the process of EU enlargement itself.”

The report will now be subject to amendments by Members of the European Parliament, and is due to be finally voted at the Parliament’s full plenary session in March 2012.

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