FYRMacedonia: Barroso to send message for internal consensus leading towards EU
09. April 2011. | 07:48
In the course of Saturday's visit to Macedonia, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will insist on the necessity for a historical agreement among different political forces and a culture of compromise related to the country's European integration, EC spokesman Michael Karnitschnig has told Deutsche Wel
In the course of Saturday's visit to Macedonia, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will insist on the necessity for a historical agreement among different political forces and a culture of compromise related to the country's European integration, EC spokesman Michael Karnitschnig has told Deutsche Welle.
He says the strategic goal of Barroso and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule's visit to the Balkan countries is quite clear - to strengthen their European perspective.
According to Karnitschnig, Barroso will clearly tell the leadership of Croatia, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia that "2011 is a very important year for the entire region. It is a year of opportunities to strengthen the enlargement process and bring these countries closer to Europe".
However, he will also stress they should undertake the responsibility and build a pro-European consensus in all countries , as well as start with the settlement of all problems and obstacles noted by the Commission in the accession process.
"This will be a very positive message of Europe remaining open and supportive of the enlargement process, with individual countries undertaking their own responsibility in this process", says Karnitschnig.
Asked if Barroso has a special message for Macedonia in light of the pre-election campaign, Karnitschnig says the EC President will meet the Prime Minister, President and leaders of most relevant political parties, which reflects the essence of his message.
"His message will be the following: in order to resume the path towards Europe, it is very important to have strategic consensus within the country. A kind of historical agreement among different political forces and a culture of compromise leading towards the country's European integration, not polarization between parties. A spirit of compromise and cooperation is required, especially during a pre-election period", stresses Karnitschnig.
Pertaining to the elections, the message reads that Brussels is aware of the specific situation the country is in, and points to the importance of their implementation within international regulations.
"What is even more important is the pro-European consensus among political parties, something that should not be brought into question", adds the EC spokesman.
With regards to the name problem and the Greek blockade, resulting in the fact that EU accession negotiations have still not been launched despite the two EC recommendations, he says the Union would like to see a solution to the issue, which is beneficial for both sides and contributes to the region's stability.
"The name issue is a topic of bilateral talks between FYROM and Greece, under UN auspices. The Commission's position is well-known, we give absolute support to the process. We encourage both sides to remain engaged in the process, especially in the course of this pre-election stage. I believe that solution to the name issue will benefit both sides and contribute to the stability of the entire region", stresses Karnitschnig.
Pertaining to the European Parliament's demand that the European Commission and the Council develop an arbitration mechanism, which would enable settlement of bilateral problems between candidate-states and member-states, the EC spokesman says the Commission has stated on a number of occasions that as much as important and sensitive, bilateral issues should not represent an obstacle to the European integration of certain countries.
"Of course, we are prepared to do what is necessary to find a solution. If you look at what the Commission did in the Slovenia-Croatia relations, you will see that we are not only ready to intervene and contribute to a solution, but also do this in a practical and proactive way. However, it should also be clear that countries concerned are accountable, whereas their bilateral discussions and issues should not represent an obstacle in the European integration process", underlines EC spokesman Michael Karnitschnig.