MACEDONIAN-BULGARIAN TALKS – RAILWAY TRACK MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONUMENTS
MIC – July 31, 2013 – 1:59pm

Macedonia is dedicated to enhancing the relations with Bulgaria but wants solutions not to be imposed in the agreement on neighborliness but the two sides to be equal. At the same time, Sofia should not condition its support for Macedonia’s Euro-integration and let alone open questions about the country’s constitution, Macedonian and Bulgarian experts comment, daily Dnevnik writes.

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin stated that the basic differences between the two countries are the ones about the shared history.

“The approach in the negotiations about the agreement is not to impose solutions on force but to aim at a text that the two countries, government and most of all citizens will be comfortable with,” said Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki, adding that it is most important for the citizens from both countries to be connected in an economic and infrastructural way and encourage the most positive climate in the bilateral relations.  

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Flash News
MIC – July 29, 2013 – 8:01am

- Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Sunday in Kyustendil, Bulgaria met with Bulgarian counterpart Plamen Oresharski at an informal government session between the two countries. The two prime ministers discussed about the development of the good-neighborly relations and boosting the economic cooperation. Bulgarian PM Oresharski stressed that Sofia insists on an agreement on neighborliness and friendship to be signed whereas according to PM Gruevski, the two countries should boost the economic cooperation. During the meeting, ten members of Bulgaria’s VMRO protested near the Municipality of Kyustendil.

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Flash News
MIC – July 26, 2013 – 8:13am

- French President Francois Hollande promised that his country will use the good relations with Greece in order to help solve the name row. According to Hollande, it is a fact that there is a standstill in the name negotiations and it is a fact it cannot be left unsolved. At the first tete-a-tete meeting in Brdo near Kranj with Macedonian President Gjorgje Ivanov, Hollande stressed that the problem is rather complicated and long-standing.

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Flash News
MIC – July 25, 2013 – 10:17am

- President Gjorge Ivanov on Tuesday at Brdo near Kranj in Slovenia is to take part in the Brdo Process Summit. French President Francois Hollande as well as EU representatives are to take part in the meeting and debate about the main problems in the EU and possibilities of the region’s EU integration.

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POPOSKI: ASHTON, FULE AND LINKEVICIUS URGE US TO FINISH DOMESTIC AGENDA IN ORDER FOR THE EU TO HELP US WITH THE EUROPEAN ONE
MIC – July 24, 2013 – 2:34pm

Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki on Tuesday in Brussels realized meetings with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule and the Foreign Minister of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius.  In a statement for news agency MIA, Minister Poposki said that the talks with the EU high representatives were focused on the prospects and future dynamic of the EU enlargement process.  

According to Macedonian Foreign Minister Poposki, his interlocutors mentioned that their goal is to reach a consensus in the EU Stabilization and Association Council for start of Macedonia’s membership negotiations. For this reason, according to Poposki, additional efforts will be made for intensifying the dialogue between Macedonia and our southern neighbor towards eliminating the one and only existing problem in the bilateral relations.

“High Representative Ashton and Commissioner Fule are on the same wavelength. The talks with Ashton addressed our initiatives related to this matter and the one presented in the letter of PM Nikola Gruevski. We hope for some progress to be made in intesyfying this dialogue, as the simple delaying of the decision on opening the negotiations and the lack of commitment to settling the bilateral dispute are not in favor of the Euro-Atlantic agenda in the Balkans,” Poposki stressed.  

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Flash News
MIC – July 23, 2013 – 8:14am

- Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki met Monday in Brussels with his Greek colleague Evangelos Venizelos where they discussed the perspectives of the EU integration. Poposki underlined that PM Gruevski’s proposal might accelerate the name negotiation process but the Greek Minister is quiet.

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Flash News
MIC – July 22, 2013 – 8:26am

- A Macedonian delegation led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is to leave for Moscow on Monday and to sign the South Stream agreement the next day.

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IVANOV AND PAPOULIAS MEET IN ZAGREB
MIC – July 2, 2013 – 1:01pm

On the sidelines of the celebration of Croatia’s accession to the EU in Zagreb on Monday, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov met his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias, which was the first meeting ever of Macedonian and Greek heads of state. The meeting took place at President Ivanov’s initiative, Utrinski vesnik reports.

“We talked openly about our two societies, our citizens and the way in which we as presidents can contribute to closer cooperation considering we need to follow the good relations and the good trends happening between the citizens of our two countries,” President Ivanov said after meeting his Greek counterpart.

Papoulias, as President Ivanov said afterward, promised him another meeting.

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Flash News
MIC – July 2, 2013 – 8:30am

- Macedonian Government delegation headed by PM Nikola Gruevski, as of Monday, is paying a visit to People’s Republic of China and according to information, Gruevski is set to meet with President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The delegation is to take part in the conference for cooperation between China and the countries from Central and Eastern Europe which will be held in Chinese city Chung-King.

Chinese Central Television CCTV interviewed PM Nikola Gruevski which focused on the political and economic relations between the two countries, the increase of trade exchange and the investments. Gruevski stressed that the Chinese investments are welcome in Macedonia and invited Chinese companies to check Macedonia’s business climate.

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NAME ISSUE PRESSURE IS ON US BECAUSE WE ARE NOT UNITED
MIC – June 28, 2013 – 2:32pm

Exclusive interview with Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in Dnevnik

Prime Minister Gruevski speaks in the first part of his interview with Dnevnik about the name issue with Greece, the attitude of the international community to both countries, the possibility for BDI to walk out of the Government, the demographic catastrophe in Macedonia, the economic situation and investments.
“The pressure on us in the name issue with Greece now is in another form and manifests itself via various negative reports on Macedonia, which is at the same time an attempt to seek out an alibi why Macedonia is not entering the EU and NATO. More specifically, it is an alibi for the incapacity and lack of will and interest of the great powers to undo the injustice that Greece does. They need someone to blame for it,” Prime Minister Gruevski explains the heightened incidence of foreign reports in which the Republic of Macedonia is presented negatively.

Q: Mr. Gruevski, it is crystal clear that Macedonia will not be set a date for opening negotiations. You have recently been to Vienna and met Philip Reeker in Skopje earlier. Also, you have the information of the meetings of our ambassadors, the minister of foreign affairs and the president. Recently, in your address at the birthday of your party you appealed for assuming a joint position and determining a new state strategy, to which SDSM replied with a question of why you failed to integrate the country into the EU and NATO. Do you have an answer to that?

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FULE URGES EU NOT TO FORGET ABOUT MACEDONIA
MIC – June 26, 2013 – 1:48pm

The European Union should not forget about Macedonia although this time round at the ministerial meeting the country will not be given either a conclusion or a date for negotiations regardless of the fact that the proposals is on the agenda. This appeal was voiced Tuesday by EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule at the meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Luxembourg. He said in his elaboration that although the subject was setting Serbia a date for launching membership negotiations, Macedonia should not be forgotten in the future. A similar message also came from Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin, who informed his counterparts that during his visit to Macedonia he saw a positive atmosphere as far as good neighborly relations and carrying out European membership reforms were concerned.

“I believe that relations between Bulgaria and Macedonia are warming up and I expect this to bring about positive change in the future and so we should not forget about this country in the future,” Bulgarian Minister Vigenin said.

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RICHARD HOWITT: Disappointed but Determined Rapporteur calls for Skopje Surge
MIC – June 25, 2013 – 4:03pm

News that EU Foreign Ministers meeting today (Tuesday 25 June) in Luxembourg for the General Affairs Council will not adopt formal conclusions on the progress of the  Republic of Macedonia [MIC ed] towards opening EU membership negotiations, has been met with disappointment but determination from the MEP who leads for the country's accession in the European Parliament.
 
Rapporteur Richard Howitt MEP, whose resolution recommending an immediate start to EU membership negotiations was adopted overwhelmingly in the European Parliament in May said:
 
"I will not defend an EU decision which I do not agree with. It remains my absolute view and the view of the European Parliament that membership negotiations should begin.
                                                            

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Flash News
MIC – June 25, 2013 – 8:40am

- Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak said in his interview with the Bosnian newspaper Dnevni Avaz that he expected Macedonia and Serbia to be on the agenda of the meeting of the European Council and be set a date for opening accession talks. However, in his view, not all countries share his view considering “some of them have problems with Macedonia.”

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SETTING SERBIA DATE AND LEAVING MACEDONIA BEHIND WOULD BE EU DISGRACE
MIC – June 24, 2013 – 12:48pm

The Irish Presidency of the European Union dispelled all hopes that the Union would set the Republic of Macedonia a date for opening accession talks at the June summit of the European Council following five positive reports on Macedonia by the European Commission. According to the EU Presidency, the issue of setting Macedonia a date will be reopened in autumn and decided at the December summit of the European Council during the Lithuanian Presidency of the Union. At the summit next week, experts say, there will be neither a date nor a conclusion for Macedonia.

Ambassador Risto Nikoski told Vecer that it would be a disgrace for the Union if Serbia was set a date for launching negotiations and Macedonia was left behind.

“The announcement of the Irish Presidency that Macedonia will not be on the agenda is not at all surprising. On the contrary, it is logical in a way and there are two key factors why it is so. The first one is Bulgaria’s intention to block, too. The second one is related to the first one – blocking Macedonia again while setting Serbia a date for negotiations will be a disgrace for the Union. Even though Serbia held the whole region hostage for ten years because of Milosevic’s policies, Belgrade is now making headway, while Macedonia is left behind. This would truly be a major disgrace for Brussels,” Nikoski explains.

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NEITHER CONCLUSION NOR DATE FOR MACEDONIA AT EU SUMMIT IN JUNE
MIC – June 20, 2013 – 2:11pm

After seven years of holding the status of a candidate member state and four consecutive recommendations from the European Commission, Macedonia will not be set a date for opening membership negotiations at the summit of the European Council  later this month.

The Irish Presidency of the European Union dispelled all hopes that the Union will eventually prove to be broad-minded setting Macedonia a date for opening membership negotiations following five positive reports with recommendations from the European Commission, MIA’s Brussels-based correspondent reports.

After two days of meetings by the COREPER group made up of the ambassadors of the EU member states, the Irish Presidency said that at the summit of the European Council on 27 and 28 June, only setting Serbia a date for talks would be discussed.
 

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CoE to reopen its office in Macedonia
MIC – June 19, 2013 – 9:55am

After almost three years, the Council of Europe wishes to reopen its office in Macedonia. If the recommendation of the report of Robert Walter from the European Democratic Group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is put into practice, Macedonia is going to join the nine countries – Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldavia, Serbia, Ukraine and Kosovo – where the CoE has offices. The Council of Europe used to have an office of informative nature in Macedonia for 13 years and closed it in end 2010.

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Flash News
MIC – June 19, 2013 – 8:42am

- Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki at Tuesday’s press-conference after the US-Adriatic Charter ministerial meeting in Skopje said that Macedonia in the name dispute is advocating intensive talks based on arguments as the arguments are on our side, adding that Greece is the one holding all the cards.

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Flash News
MIC – June 18, 2013 – 9:51am

-    Macedonia’s top priorities remain opening accession talks with the EU and joining NATO, in the attainment of which the country is strongly backed by the USA. This was agreed upon at the meeting between Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov and Philip Reeker, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, in Skopje Monday. Reeker is on a visit to Macedonia to attend the conference of the Adriatic Group set for Tuesday. The two officials also said that Croatia’s accession to the EU and the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina were the most significant events in the region recently that would reflect positively on the stability of the whole region and its European integration.

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Flash News
MIC – June 17, 2013 – 8:46am

- Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki over the weekend took part in the annual European Forum Wachau in Austria and met with Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger. Poposki stressed that it is crucial for Austria and for the countries in the region the EU enlargement process to continue. He added that it would be beneficial for entire Europe to continue expanding the most successful project of peace and stability. The discussions at the forum were focused on several issues, including security and defense policy, solidarity, growth and budget consolidation and the role of culture in European integration and EU external relations.

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Flash News
MIC – June 14, 2013 – 1:39pm

- Macedonia should get set with a date for the EU accession talks date and the positive experience of parallel development of processes should be applied, President Gjorge Ivanov told counterpart at Thursday’s Central Europe Summit, held in Bratislava. Ivanov stressed that EU could not speak on behalf of Europe, adding that “when our region joins the EU, then the Union can speak on behalf of Europe. That is why Europe is an incomplete process.”

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BORCE DAVITKOVSKI APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF INQUIRY COMMITTEE
MIC – June 13, 2013 – 12:30pm

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev took little over two hours to persuade Borce Davitkovski, Dean of the Faculty of Law, to accept the office of president of the inquiry committee tasked with investigating the events of 24 December and before and determine whether the Constitution and the laws had been violated.

Professor Davitkovski will be chairing a 5-member committee most of whose members are professors at the Faculty of Law in Skopje. The committee includes Professor Ljubomir Frckoski and Renata Treneska-Deskovska as representatives of SDSM and MPs Blagorodna Dulik and Ilija Dimovski as representatives of VMRO-DPMNE.
 

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Flash News
MIC – June 13, 2013 – 8:42am

- Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki met Wednesday with UN mediator Matthew Nimetz and discussed about the activities surrounding the name issue. Following the meeting, Poposki expressed his pessimism about the outcome of the June Summit in Brussels because Greece avoids and has no intention to seriously negotiate about the name issue. Experts also say that Greece is to reject Nimetz’ latest proposal and block Macedonia’s negotiations with the EU at the EU Summit.

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Flash News
MIC – June 12, 2013 – 8:42am

- Jean-Claude Mignon, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, addressed Tuesday the MPs in the Macedonian Parliament and emphasized that he hopes that Macedonia will get set with a date for negotiations soon and this will represent a logical continuation of the realized reforms. According to Mignon, the March Agreement enabled normalization of the situation and the EU is saluting the progress in the judiciary, Ohrid Agreement and the fight against corruption.

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COUNCIL OF EUROPE RETURNING TO MACEDONIA
MIC – June 11, 2013 – 12:46pm

The Council of Europe “seriously doubts” that Macedonia is politically stable enough to carry out the required reforms and has therefore announced opening of an office in Skopje, Utrinski vesnik reports.

This is the main message in the report of Robert Walter, rapporteur on Macedonia in Strasbourg, which will be presented next week and which Jean Claude Mignon, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, presented in Skopje Monday. According to the report, Macedonia faces challenges to its stability and social cohesion at a number of levels, partly as a result of its partisan society.

The report says that ten years of the Ohrid agreement, interethnic relations are still frail and there have been serious incidents (the case Monster, the ethnic protests, etc) and so it appeals to politicians to refrain from nationalistic rhetoric and draft internal trust building measures. Strasbourg also wants the census to be finally taken, the March agreement with the EU, particularly the part of it referring to the setting up of the inquiry committee, to be carried out, media freedom to be ensured by the Government and Greece to demonstrate greater flexibility in regard to Macedonia’s name.

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Flash News
MIC – June 11, 2013 – 8:33am

- Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki on Monday in New York met with ambassadors of the UN Eastern European Group countries in a bid to promote Macedonia’s nomination to join the UN Human Rights Council in the period 2014-2016.The ambassadors voiced support for Macedonia’s nomination and Minister Poposki promised that if Macedonia is chosen as a member, it will work responsibly and transparently.

Minister Poposki is to meet in New York with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and mediator Matthew Nimetz in connection to the name negotiations. Poposki’s meetings in New York are important because there are only two weeks left until the EU Summit.

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EUROPEAN UNION PUTS FORWARD PROPOSALS FOR INQUIRY COMMITTEE PRESIDENT
MIC – June 10, 2013 – 2:17pm

Distinguished European politicians are on the list that the European Union has provided to the two largest political parties in Macedonia – SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE – so they can appoint the president of the inquiry committee tasked with shedding light on the events of 24 December last year. All persons on the list are known to the Macedonian public and have been directly or indirectly connected to Macedonia over the past two decades, as two of them are members of the European Parliament, Utrinski vesnik reports. However, neither SDSM nor VMRO-DPMNE has yet voiced their views of the list of candidates.

Following the meeting between Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev on Thursday, there is little chance for the president of the committee to be a home expert for it is hardly likely that anyone in Macedonia would undertake that responsibility as those proposed by one party are unacceptable to the other.

According to information that Utrinski vesnik obtained from diplomatic sources, the four experts on the list include Daniel Tarschys from Sweden, Graham Watson and Michael Lee from the UK, and Monica Macovei from Romania.

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Flash News
MIC – June 10, 2013 – 8:27am

- President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Jean-Claude Mignon, from Monday to Wednesday, is to pay an official visit to Macedonia. He is to meet with the state leadership and address the Macedonian Parliament.

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Flash News
MIC – June 7, 2013 – 9:10am

-    Both Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev assessed their meeting Thursday as a huge positive step in the direction of opening dialogue between the government and the opposition. The Government stated in its official press release that the close communication between the two leaders was going to continue.

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DATE FOR LAUNCHING ACCESSION TALKS SHOULD NO LONGER BE TOP NEWS
MIC – June 6, 2013 – 12:33pm

As the summit of the European Council set for 27 and 28 June approaches, it is getting increasingly more certain that Macedonia will again not be set a date for opening membership negotiations with the EU. It is in this direction that statements of Macedonian politicians as well as their Greek counterparts, who keep arguing that the name issue has to be resolved first, have recently moved. Last month, after meeting Stefano Sannino, Director General for Enlargement at the EC, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Popovski said a positive outcome from the June summit was unlikely, stressing thereby that Macedonia had long deserved to open accession talks yet it was just as certain that Greece was not ready to give its support without which the opening of talks was impossible, Nova Makedonija reports.

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MACEDONIA HOPES FOR BUT DOES NOT EXPECT MUCH FROM LITHUANIAN PRESIDENCY OF EU
MIC – June 5, 2013 – 8:34am

Lithuania is a great supporter of the EU enlargement, which is going to be on the agenda of its EU Presidency starting in a month. However, despite the announced pro-active approach, Macedonia cannot expect a major move that would help it resolve its present European integration impasse, experts comment in the lead-up to the Lithuanian Presidency that begins on 1 July 2013, Dnevnik reports.

Although they are unanimous that the activities and interests of the Presidency will focus on the eastern partnership, that is the relations with Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldavia, the authorities in Vilnius put enlargement high on their agenda.

“Lithuania is a staunch supporter of the enlargement policy of the EU and this issue is going to remain high on the agenda of our Presidency. We are ready to further intensify our cooperation and make all effort necessary to continue the inherited and very ambitious agenda, as well as to make sure there is headway in the implementation of the enlargement strategy,” Rasa Jakilaitiene, spokeswoman for the Lithuanian Presidency told Dnevnik.

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