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Brussels, 25 October 2013
EU - former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Meeting with N. Gruevski
Brussels (25 October) - Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met with Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski accompanied by Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki in Brussels today.
The meeting follows the recent publication of the Progress report on the country and the Commission's fifth recommendation to the Council to open accession negotiations. Discussions focused on recent political developments and the reform priorities that the Commission has highlighted in this year´s Progress report and ways how to address the shortcomings highlighted there.
Commissioner Füle expressed concern about the increasing polarisation among political parties in the country. He reiterated his call for constructive inclusive dialogue and responsible politics in the national interest.
In the area of rule of law he stressed the need to improve the predictability, equality and transparency of decision-making in order to have public trust and to step up the fight against corruption and organised crime.
The Commissioner raised also the recent court verdicts against an investigative journalist and others, and said: "We will continue to follow the case of Mr Kezarovski closely. We will carefully study the judgment when available and we expect the outcome of this case to take full account of the fundamental principles of fairness, proportionality and public interest."
As for freedom of expression he underlined that more needs to be done to rebuild trust between the government and the media community, following the events of 24 December, and after the consultations on the media laws this summer and to improve the overall media culture. The new defamation legislation must be implemented in practice and any change of relevant legislation must result, de facto, in the establishment of a better framework for freedom of expression.
Commissioner Füle and Prime Minister Gruevski also discussed the state of play of the country's bilateral relations with two EU Member States.