Leterme to help Macedonia secure launch of EU entry talks

Belgium’s caretaker prime minister Yves Leterme told EU lawmakers Wednesday that Brussels would try to secure a deal to ensure a start of Macedonia’s EU accession talks.

“As regards the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the presidency will try to secure an agreement for launch of membership talks,” Leterme said in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Among the priorities of Belgian EU presidency mentioned by Leterme was enlargement, with the Belgian presidency aiming to get EU governments agreeing on further enlargement of the bloc.

Belgium would also be responsible for enlargement, with Leterme saying that each aspirant country will be evaluated on merits.

On Tuesday, Leterme met his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Gruevski and offered him mediation by Belgian presidency in coordination with Un envoy Matthew Nimetz to help Macedona and Greece work out a settlement of the name row.

Belgain presidency undertook to work on securing a consensus within the EU Council to consider the European Commission’s recommendation for start of accession talks with Macedonia.

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