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Brussels, 15 February 2013
Statement by Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy on the political situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
In the context of the High Level Accession Dialogue (HLAD) with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, I had originally intended to visit Skopje next week to assess progress in EU-related reforms.
This fourth round of the HLAD would also have formed part of the preparation of the European Commission's upcoming Report, requested by the December 2012 General Affairs Council.
However, in light of the current political impasse, I do not consider that my visit to discuss these issues would be appropriate at this particular time.
Both in public statements and through visits by senior officials and my own – offering to facilitate the process of finding a solution - the European Union and its partners have expressed their concerns regarding the events of 24 December and their handling.
I am frustrated by the lack of progress in putting an end to the political stalemate. The previous rounds of the HLAD and the December Council conclusions created an opportunity to make further progress on EU-related reforms and for opening the accession negotiations. The current situation is putting at risk this opportunity.
It is now imperative for political leaders in Skopje to take responsibility and find a solution, demonstrating the maturity of the democratic institutions and putting the best interests of the country and its citizens first.