REGION: Bilateral Disputes Should not Hamper EU Integration
12.03.2010 Croatia | Macedonia | Politics | Western Balkans
Bilateral disputes should not hamper the EU integration process and need to be solved outside EU entry talks, Macedonia and Croatia's foreign ministers - Antonio Milososki and Gordan Jandrokovic - concluded Tuesday at a meeting in Zagreb.
Bilateral disputes that are more or less relevant in bilateral ties between EU members and candidate countries should not be an obstacle in the EU integration process. Thus they should not damage the credibility of the Union and European integration as a whole, stated Milososki.
He said Macedonia was prepared to start EU membership talks, adding that Croatia's experiences would be of great benefit for Macedonia in the process. In terms of regional issues, Milososki deemed that Macedonia and Croatia had similar positions and were contributing to improving regional cooperation through coordinated approach, MIA reports.
Given NATO membership, the FM said Macedonia had met all the required conditions for NATO membership and had been fulfilling obligations despite not being formally a member of the Alliance.
Even through Macedonia hasn't been admitted to NATO yet, it meets all the criteria and carries out great obligations involving the engagement into NATO missions. This year Macedonia will boost the number of its troops in Afghanistan, from 170 to additional 80 soldiers. This initiative has been already backed by the Parliament, said Milososki. For him, it is a way in which one state, an aspirant for membership, takes over a bulk of NATO's obligations both at regional and global plan.
Croatia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and EU Integration said Croatia as a NATO member was giving strong support in order Macedonia in the near future to join the Euro-Atlantic family, expressing hope that a resolution to the name dispute with Greece would be found in due time.
Croatia is nearing the end of EU membership talks. We urge accession talks to be launched as soon as possible with Macedonia. The country pledges each country on its road to EU to be individually treated, to meet all the criteria and a fair approach to be applied in entry talks, stressed Jandrokovic.
Both ministers agreed the succession process of the property of former Yugoslavia to be concluded. The FMs also urged the business cooperation to be intensified.
Milososki and Jandrokovic concurred that a bridge between the countries was the Macedonian minority in Croatia and the Croatian community in Macedonia, as well as the cultural and tourist cooperation.
Earlier, FM Milososki met with Croatian Premier Jadranka Kosor and is expected to hold talks with President Ivo Josipovic.