Orav: No One can Guarantee what will Happen in December

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Greece has taken a step further, now your government needs to respond to the memorandum as soon as possible, says Aivo Orav – the European Union Ambassador to Macedonia.

“It is crucial to proceed. Greece has taken a step and your government must respond now. Greece is an EU member country and we hope that your government will respond to the proposal as soon as possible, when it is ready. Proposals such as this one need time to be reviewed as thoroughly as possible,” the EU Ambassador says in an interview with the web portal eNews.

Asked about Macedonia’s progress made in 2012, he states that this year’s progress report is indeed about a headway, since many thing have been improved.

“There have been and I’ve also heard a lot of criticism from some people that many challenges have been noted in the report and yes, it’s true. If it wasn’t so, if there was no criticism or noted challenges, then the country should have to start the negotiations tomorrow. The country has a lot ahead before opening the negotiations and I believe that the report shows that there is good opportunity for opening the process. The (European) Commission presented such a recommendation, but it is up to the Council of member states to decide whether it is time for start of talks or whether something else needs to be done,” Ambassador Orav notes.

He says he is not able to say how realistic it is for the Council of EU to approve a date for negotiations with Macedonia.

“At the moment, I cannot say anything. Many people in the European Union work very hard in relation to this, some EC officials are also dedicated. I really don’t know what will happen in December,” Orav stresses.

Asked whether there is an opportunity for Macedonia to start negotiations without a name row settlement under a condition the issue to be closed in the early stages, the Ambassador says that if the recommendation is being read in this manner, then it still means that finding a solution to the dispute is the main condition.

“However, there must be a solution as soon as possible, even as soon as today. The EC recommendation for launching negotiations means that this process and the process of solving the name issue should take place simultaneously with the name row to be closed in the early stages. This is a chance for the country, even though the decision hasn’t been approved by the member countries yet. It is important to keep pursuing reforms and to commit more to building good neighbourly relations. It is a great challenge for the government at this point,” says Orav.

Considering that Greece hasn’t reacted yet with respect to this proposal, Orav notes that it doesn’t mean that nothing is happening if a politician or official representative hasn’t said something at a press conference. “Greece works hard too,” he adds.

It is essential to keep pursuing reforms, the Ambassador urges. “Whatever happens in December, the reform process must be pursued. It is in the interest of your country, of the citizens. If you manage to harmonise your legislation with EU’s, then it means that one day once you start the negotiations, it will be much easier for the country to proceed. If everything was closed, you could open negotiations in one chapter in the morning and close them in the evening. It is understandable that politicians find it hard to make these reports, but the work must be done,” Orav emphasises.

Asked to comment the political atmosphere in Macedonia, Ambassador Orav says: “I wouldn’t speculate on what is going to happen, but the Ohrid Framework Agreement is vital in maintaining stability. We are monitoring how this document is being implemented.”

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