Finland Supports Macedonia’s EU Progress

Finland supports granting a date for Macedonia’s start of membership talks at the EU summit on Decembers 7, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said after meeting his visiting Macedonian counterpart Nikola Gruevski Thursday in Helsinki.

While the country will urge other EU members to do the same, the ongoing name spat with Greece should be resolved as soon as possible he stated.

“I believe that Macedonia is prepared and that it is time for the country to start accession talks with EU. Finland will be in favor of launching negotiations at the December summit, however it doesn’t depend solely on us,” Vanhanen said.

Asked about Greece’s conditioning of the start of negotiations with a settlement to the name dispute, the Finnish Prime Minister urged both countries to make use of the positive momentum following the European Commission recommendation that Skopje start EU negotiations, MIA reports.

“I know there are difficulties, because the issue is sensitive. But I also believe that Greece and Macedonia should use the moment and be more flexible in order to reach a compromise,” noted Vanhanen.

Macedonian Prime Minister Gruevski reiterated hopes that Macedonia will obtain a date to launch negotiations for EU membership.

When asked what he will do if if Macedonia fails to secure a date, Gruevski said the country will keep working towards securing a date for talks and it will continue implementing the necessary reforms.

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