Macedonia eyes EU accession as it submits reform report

Macedonia eyes EU accession as it submits reform report

Macedonia will be in focus in Brussels today when the European Parliament receives a report on the country’s recommended reforms,

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Photo: ec.europa.eu

Macedonia will be in focus in Brussels today when the European Parliament receives a report on the country’s recommended reforms, which will determine potential EU membership talks.

While the report itself is unlikely to be a game-changer, recently elected PM Zoran Zaev has injected new life into the initiative with the hopes of restarting accession negotiations. Zaev hopes to implement policies to safeguard judicial independence and realise sustainable economic growth “by autumn” he said after meeting with EU officials on Monday. But the reforms aren’t Macedonia’s main obstacle to joining the bloc.

Before it can hope to join the EU, the country will need to resolve its longstanding naming dispute with Greece. As a gesture to Athens, Macedonia says it’s willing to adopt an interim name, which will reference “Upper Macedonia”.

While not included in any EU reform report, if Skopje can work out a deal with its southern neighbour, it will remove the biggest obstacle to joining the European community.