EU Welcomes Macedonian Government, Calls For Urgent Reforms

EU Welcomes Macedonian Government, Calls For Urgent Reforms

Skopje –   The European Union on Thursday welcomed the arrival of the new government in Macedonia, where it has been heavily involved in efforts to end crisis for over two years.

“We welcome the vote for the new government led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev,’’ EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, said in a joint statement.

They also signalled that the EU expected end to divisions among Macedonian politicians and urgent implementation of reforms singled out as priority during the two years of negotiations.

Social Democrat, Zaev’s cabinet was endorsed by the parliament on Wednesday, almost six months after snap polls.

It replaced a technical government that was in place for almost 18 months.

It also ended an 11-year reign of the nationalist Vmro Party and its leader, Nikola Gruevski, whose attempt to hold onto power in spite of losing the majority in the Dec. 11 elections pushed Macedonia deeper into the crisis.

“We expect all parliamentary parties to put their divisions aside now and work jointly on delivering, from the outset, on a common reform agenda that would benefit the country in its entirety,’’ Mogherini and Hahn said.

Presenting his programme, Zaev promised to revive Macedonia’s bid to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and move closer toward EU membership.

While only opposition from Athens, due to a dispute with Skopje over the name Macedonia, keeps the poorest former Yugoslav republic out of NATO, it needs to move ahead with stalled reforms if it is to progress toward EU membership.

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