Brussels, 4 September 2012
Press statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following his meeting with Gjorge Ivanov, President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
President Ivanov and I have discussed the recent developments in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The President has given me a full update. I welcomed the efforts of the President and of the coalition partners to resolve the open questions and to find a way forward. I underlined that the government should move on and focus on the opportunities ahead.
In particular, the government needs to deliver the key reform measures which are set out in its Roadmap, in the framework of the High Level Accession Dialogue. Action to further strengthen inter-ethnic relations is needed, on the basis of the full implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement. Freedom of expression should be strengthened through the decriminalisation of defamation. The electoral framework should be revised, in line with international and European standards.
I recalled that regional co-operation and good neighbourly relations form an essential part of the process of moving towards the EU. Maintaining good neighbourly relations, including a negotiated and mutually accepted solution to the name issue, under the auspices of the UN, is essential. Regarding the name issue between the country and Greece, I reiterated full support for bilateral meetings and exchanges as well as the UN process. President Ivanov informed me about the steps the government has taken in this regard.