Accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) should start by the end of June, says the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) in a draft resolution, adopted on 8 April. MEPs are convinced that launching negotiations will provide positive momentum for future reforms and promote good relations with neighbouring countries.
However, the European Commission is showing more caution: during his visit to Skopje, on 9 April, Enlargement CommissioneraStefan Fule said only that the EU executive will present a "special report" on the country, and this will constitute its contribution to the next round of discussions on the launch of negotiations. The European Council will make a decision on starting negotiations by 30 June, based on the Commission's report.
In their draft resolution, MEPs call on the enlargement commissioner to assess the costs of non-enlargement, including the main risks for the FYROM if the status quo is maintained.
They support a recent agreement aimed at resolving the country's internal political problems following the events of 24 December 2012, which saw a third of MPs and journalists forced to leave the parliament building. All the country's political representatives must respect the assembly as an essential democratic institution for the discussion and resolution of political differences, they added, calling for an in-depth reform of the FYROM's parliamentary procedures.
MEPs also express their concern over inter-ethnic tensions within the country and push for the acceleration of a political dialogue in order to avoid ethnic...