Accession of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the European Union


Accession of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the European Union

Infobox EU accession bid



status = Candidate
nation = FYROM
national_denonym = former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia



chapters_opened = 0
chapters_closed = 0
national_GDP_PPP = 16.94
national_area_total = 25,713
national_population = 2,038,514
website = [http://www.sep.gov.mk/portal/eng/default.asp?id=611& sep.gov.mk]

The accession of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the European Union is one of the highest strategic priorities for the country's government. [cite web | url= http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/international/bilateral/fyrom.html|title=Europa, European Commission | work= Bilateral relations > The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia | accessdate=2008-06-04] [cite web| url= http://www.delmkd.ec.europa.eu/| title= Europa, The European Union in the World | work= The European Union Mission to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia| accessmonthday= December 26| accessyear= 2006] This aspiration is shared by the majority of citizens and politicians.Fact|date=May 2008 The Government's motto for the candidacy is "The Sun, too, is a star", referring to the sun from the national flag being displayed amongst the other stars in the Flag of the EU, in the official logo of the candidacy.

History

On 22 March 2004, in Dublin, Ireland, the Republic submitted its application for EU membership. Six months later, it started the procedure of answering the Questionnaire of the European Commission about the performance of the applicant country for membership in the European Union.

By 31 January 2005, in less than four months, the country's institutions had prepared the answers, realistically presenting the situation, and also the plans for advancement in each of the particular sectors in society. Fact|date=September 2007

The European Commission reviewed the answers and recommended granting status of candidate country for membership in the EU.

The European Council on 17 December, 2005 granted the Republic candidate status for membership of the EU, recognizing the progress that it has made in meeting the Copenhagen criteria.

The Republic was the first non-EU country in the region to have signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Communities and their Member States on 9 April 2001 in Luxembourg. The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia ratified the Agreement on 12 April 2001. This Agreement, signed between the republic and the EU, was the first to be ratified from all the Member States and entered into force on 1 April 2004.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia at the moment is part of the stabilisation and association process – a process which leads to Union membership. The President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, stated before the European Parliament “"On top of this success" (meaning the success from the recent EU enlargement) "we should make Europe complete opening the doors for the Balkans."” The Government has already applied for accession and it moves on with firm determination towards the target.

As part of the activities for EU approximation, on 6 September 2004, the government adopted the National Strategy for European integration. It is especially important that this Strategy was supported also by the Assembly of the country through the Commission for European Issues, thus confirming the general political consensus on European integration.

Controversy

On 24 July 2006, Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivaylo Kalfin stated that Bulgaria, which joined the EU on 1 January 2007, would not unconditionally and indispensably support the membership of the Republic, citing what he called "aggression towards the Bulgarian nation or history on behalf of the Macedonian authorities" as a reason. [ [http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/newsbriefs/2006/07/25/nb-07] ] President Georgi Parvanov supported Kalfin, saying that the Bulgarian "support for Macedonia would depend on the tolerance of the country towards Bulgarian history and the lack of negative attitudes and aggression". [ [http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/bulgarias-position-concerning-macedonia-unchanged--kalfin/id_16822/catid_64] ]

This was followed by an immediate negative diplomatic answer from the Republic's officials who stated that the country has no interest in Bulgarian national history, but in no situation whatsoever will deprive itself from what it regards as its own national history. [ [http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/foreign-briefs/id_16901/catid_5] ] The President Branko Crvenkovski stated an opinion that "such rough and undiplomatic statements coming from Bulgarian officials are in the service of the upcoming elections in Bulgaria and should not be recognized and damage the bilateral relationship between the two countries". [ [http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?catid=123&newsid=93371&ch=0] ]

A major stumbling block for the accession process is the Republic's still-unresolved dispute with Greece over its name. Although the country prefers to be called by its constitutional name, as the Republic of Macedonia, Greek objections meant that it was recognised by the European Union as the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (or FYROM). This term is used by the EU in all bilateral relationships, although some EU states use the Republic's constitutional name in their own bilateral dealings with it.

On August 29 2006, the Greek foreign minister, Dora Bakoyannis, stated that "...the Hellenic Parliament, under any composition, will not ratify the accession of the neighbouring country to the EU and NATO if the name issue is not resolved beforehand."cite web| url=http://www.greekembassy.org/Embassy/content/en/Article.aspx?office=1&folder=24&article=18371 | title=Embassy of Greece - Washington, DC | work=Answer of FM Ms. D. Bakoyannis regarding the FYROM name issue | accessmonthday= September 11 | accessyear=2006 |language= English] [cite web| url=http://umdiaspora.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=150&Itemid=76 |title= United Macedonian Diaspora | work= Interview with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis | accessmonthday= November 2 |accessyear= 2006] However, the Greek Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis has denied pledging to veto the accession and has stated that he would only block the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's application for EU and NATO membership if it sought to be admitted under its constitutional name. ["Report by B. Khiotis: [http://www.tovimadaily.gr//Article.aspx?d=20070911&nid=5953596&sn=&spid= «Εγώ δεν είπα ποτέ τη λέξη βέτο»] el icon ("I never used the word veto"), "To Vima", 11 September 2007]

More recently, EU sources have reportedly said that the Republic's hope of starting accession talks next year cannot succeed, on the grounds that its new prime minister Nikola Gruevski has allegedly shut out the country's ethnic Albanian minority and has politicised many state institutions. [cite web|url=http://www.euronews.net/create_html.php?page=europa&article=388462&lng=1 |title=Euronews.net |work=Western Balkans told 'hold' for EU membership | accessmonthday=November 2| accessyear=2006] The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as other west Balkan countries, can expect to join in the medium to long term. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6113926.stm |title=BBC |work= EU to disappoint Balkan hopefuls | accessmonthday=November 3| accessyear=2006]

Timeline

* October 1992 — the country appointed its representative in BrusselsFact|date=July 2007, agreeing to the use of the "former Yugoslav" before its constitutional name ("Republic of Macedonia") designation in bilateral relations;
* 22 December 1995 — the Republic and the EU established diplomatic relations when the EU opened negotiations in the direction of signing the Agreement with a wide scope of co-operation in the fields of trade, financial operations and transport;
* February 1996 — the Republic raised the status of its permanent Mission in Brussels to an ambassadorial level;
* 10 March 1996 — the Republic became a full partner in the PHARE Programme (Poland and Hungary: Assistance for Reconstruction of their Economies);
* 20 March 1996 — began negotiations for the Co-operation Agreement between FYROM and the European Communities as well as Transport Agreement;
* 20 June 1996 — in Brussels, the Cooperation Agreement between the former Yugoslav Republuc of Macedonia and the European Communities and the Transport Agreement were concluded. Both were signed on 29 April in Luxembourg;
* November 1997 — the Transport Agreement entered into force, and Co-operation Agreement between the former Yugoslav Republuc of Macedonia and the European Communities entered into force on 1 January 1998;
* February 1998 — in Ohrid, in accordance with the Co-operation Agreement, the first political dialogue at ministerial level was held;
* 11 March 1998 — Trade and Textile Agreement was signed (although it entered into force on 1 August 1997). The Agreement was valid until 31 December 1998. Nevertheless, as of 1 January 2000, renewed Trade and Textile Agreement is in force;
* 21 and 22 March 1998 — in Skopje, the first meeting of the mutual Co-operation Council was held. The Council is established aiming to follow-up the implementation of Co-operation Agreement, achievements and development of the structural reforms, as well as to give suggestions and directions in relation to certain specific issues;
* 5 March 1999 — in Brussels, the second meeting of the Co-operation Council was held;
* June 1999 — the Report on the Possibility to Start the Negotiations for the new SAA was adopted;
* 24 January 2000 — the European Commission's directives proposed by the EU Council were adopted, concerning the raising the co-operation level between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the EU, as well as the official start of the negotiations for a potential EU membership;
* March 2000 — with the opening of the EU Delegation in Skopje and the appointment of the first Chief of the Delegation, bilateral relations were raised to an ambassadorial level;
* 5 April 2000 — pursuant to the Lisbon Decision of the European Commission, the first round of the negotiations on the SAA officially began. The negotiations were realized in a very short period of time (April - November, 2000) through three rounds of official negotiations and five meetings at an expert level, particularly technical negotiations;
* June 2000 — in the course or the session of the European Council in Fiera, the perspective (regulation) on potential membership was adopted;
* 24 November 2000 — at the margins of the Zagreb Summit, the SAA was initialled;
* December 2000 — the Council Regulation on Introducing Exceptional Trade Measures entered into force, as well as the inclusion of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the Regional CARDS Programme 2002 - 2006;
* 16 February 2001 — Interim Agreement on SAA Trade Provisions signed;
* 9 April 2001 — in Luxemburg, the SAA was signed. At the same time, the Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade Issues was signed. The Agreement entered into force on 1 June 2001;
* January 2002 — supplementary Protocol on Wine and Spirits, and Textile Products Trade Agreement;
* 20 February 2003 — the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, visited Skopje and repeated the EU position on the country's perspective for EU membership;
* 25 July 2003 — the last (sixth) meeting of the Cooperaton Council was held in Brussels;
* February 2004 — the Assembly of the Republic adopted the “Declaration on the Application for EU membership”;
* 22 March 2004 — at a ceremony in Dublin, Ireland, the Macedonian government submitted the application for membership in the EU;
* 1 April 2004 — the Stabilisation and Association Agreement entered into force following the ratifications by all the EU Member States;
* 3 June 2004 — first meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Committee held in Skopje;
* 6 September 2004 — the Republic's government adopted the National Strategy for European Integration;
* 14 September 2004 — first meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council in Brussels;
* 1 October 2004 — the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, submitted the Questionnaire to the Macedonian government.
* 31 January 2005 — the government finalised the preparation of the Answers to the Questionnaire for the preparation of the European Commission’s Opinion on the application of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for membership of the EU.
* 14 February 2005 — A Macedonian delegation submitted the Answers to the Questionnaire of the European Commission to the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso in Brussels
* Additional Questions to the Questionnaire of the European Commission that were received on 22 April 2005, are answered, accepted by the Republic's government and sent to Brussels on 10 May 2005
* 9 November 2005 — the European Commission issued the opinion on the candidacy of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for EU membership. The opinion recommends granting candidate status for membership in the EU.
* 17 December 2005 — the European Council in Brussels approves the candidate status.
* 9 November 2006 — the European Commission decided to start visa facilitation negotiations with the Republic.
* 12 July 2007 - the European Parliament issues the "2006 Progress Report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" [ [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P6-TA-2007-0352+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN European Parliament resolution of 12 July 2007 on the 2006 Progress Report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ] ] Both Greece and the Republic declare a "victory" - The report is critical of the Bilateral Immunity Agreement with the USA (which violates the principles of the Rome Statute); failures in the implementation of the Badinter principle; the Khaled El-Masri affair; the renaming of Skopje Airport to "Alexander the Great"; and other issues such as environmental protection and neighborly relations. Two proposed amendments referring to Bulgaria and Greece's failure to recognize a [Slav] Macedonian minority living in these countries, and one referring to the constitutional name "Republic of Macedonia", were rejected. [citenews|url=http://www.makfax.com.mk/look/novina/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=2&NrArticle=75631&NrIssue=396&NrSection=10|title=EP adopted report on Macedonia|work=Makfax|date=2007-07-12] On the other hand, the EU reiterated that the naming issue will not be considered in the accession process (although Greece's ability to veto remains intact). EuroMPs from the ruling Greek Nea Dimokratia party voted in favor of the resolution; those from the opposition PASOK party voted against.
* 23 June 2008 - Following the EU summit, the resolution of the naming dispute was added as a precondition to EU accession. [citenews|url=http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/11204/|title=Macedonia 'Name' Solution Before EU Talks
work=BalkanInsight.com|date=2008-6-20
] [citenews|url=http://www.euractiv.com/en/enlargement/macedonia-pm-greek-outburst-eu-summit/article-173577|title=Macedonia PM in Greek outburst after EU summit|work=EurActiv|date=2008-6-23]

Institutions

With the adoption of "The strategic bases of the Republic of Macedonia on achieving the membership of the European Union" in September 1997, the Government set up the foundations of the management infrastructure for the European Integration process. In the following period, in order to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency, based on the foreign experiences, as well as greater commitments to the EU, and taking into account the greater commitment to EU, made corrections and upgrading of the management and coordination system with the European integration process. So today, it has the following structure:

*The Committee for Euro-Atlantic Integration plays the central role in the decision-making of the country policy in the European integration process. It is chaired by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers, all ministers in the Government, the Governor of the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia and the President of the Macedonian Academy of Science and Arts are members of the Committee.
*The Working Committee for European Integration of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia - It is chaired by the Deputy Prime Ministers in charge of EU Integration, whose deputy is the Minister of Economy. The members are the secretaries from all Ministries. It is an operational, inter-ministerial body establishing the methods and dynamics for implementation of strategic decisions, political guidelines and priorities of the Government, as well as monitoring the realization of the concrete tasks.
*The Deputy to the President of the Government is responsible for the European integration as centre in the management and coordination of the operational part of the integration process. Its support and service is the Sector for European Integration within the General Secretariat of the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
*The Sector for European Integration within the Republic's government is given the task to organise, coordinate and synchronise the EU integration process. It is organized in seven units in charge of the approximation of the national legislation with that of the EU, translation of the EU legal acts, institution building, support to the WCEIdn, coordination of foreign assistance, and information to the broader public on EU and the European integration process.
*Departments/Sectors/Units for European Integration within the Ministries have similar structure and competencies as the central Sector for European Integration within the Government, being a key link in the institutional infrastructure .
*The Ministry of Foreign Affairs - EU domain - is responsible for communications with the EU structures through the Mission of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in Brussels , gathering valid and timely information that have impact on the integration process and presenting the uniform perspectives and positions in the European structures .

The other institutions supporting the EU integration process are the following:

* the Republic's Assembly and its Commission for European Issues
* the Secretariat for Legislation
* the General Secretariat of the Government
* the Subcommittee of the WCEI for approximation of the legislation with its working groups

References

External links

* [http://ec.europa.eu/comm/enlargement/fyrom/index.htm Relations of the European Union with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia] en icon
* [http://www.sei.gov.mk Official website of the Sector for EU integration of the Republic's Government] en icon
* [http://www.sei.gov.mk/questionnaire/ Answers to the Questionnaire for the preparation of the European Commission's Opinion on the application of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for membership of the European Union] en icon
* [http://www.sep.gov.mk/portal/eng/default.asp?id=101 Opinion of the European Commission regarding the Republic of Macedonia's request for membership in EU] en icon This version carries the note "The Secretariat for European Affairs intervened in the text by replacing the reference 'former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' with the constitutional name 'Republic of Macedonia'". It is therefore not the original text.
* [http://www.sei.gov.mk/portal/mak/default.asp?id=611 Publications related with Macedonia's integration process] en icon


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