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(FYR) Macedonias overdue date for starting EU accession talks will be discussed when European foreign ministers meet next week, but Skopje fears new Greek and Bulgarian objections.
Europes foreign ministers are due to decide at their session on Tuesday whether to ask EU chiefs to set a start date for (FYR) Macedonias stalled accession talks at a later meeting of the European Council set for June 27-28.
But the decisive meeting comes amid worries that ministers from neighbouring Greece and Bulgaria could again block (FYR) Macedonias progress, this time citing democratic failings in the country.
One of their arguments this time could be the failure of the [FYR Macedonian] government and the opposition to form a commission of inquiry into the parliament incidents [on December 24 that triggered a prolonged political crisis], a source in the (FYR) Macedonian foreign ministry told Balkan Insight on condition of anonymity.
The formation of the commission, agreed as part of an EU-brokered deal struck on March 1 that ended a months-long political crisis, has been delayed due to disagreements between the government and the opposition.
Brussels recently made it clear that it wants to see it done.
The committee [of inquiry] needs to start its work as soon as possible and show some results, Peter Stano, spokesperson for EU enlargement chief Stefan Fuele, said on Wednesday.
Stano said it was now up to FYR Macedonia to deliver.
It is not for me to comment what will happen in June at the European Council because this is [up to] the European member states and they will decide. The [European] commission has said what we needed to say and now we are waiting for delivery from Skopje obviously, he said.
European Commission reports have recommended a start for (FYR) Macedonias membership talks each year since 2009.
But FYR Macedonia has never been offered a date for the talks owing to the Greek blockade related to the dispute over its name. Greece insists that (FYR) Macedonia's name implies territorial claims to its own northern province, also called Macedonia.
Last autumn, Sofia joined Athens in blocking Skopjes accession, alleging discrimination and hate speech towards Bulgarians inside and outside FYR Macedonia.
As a result, last December the EU Council said that any decision on opening accession talks with Macedonia would be based on a special report from the European Commission which was published in April.
The report was intended to assess whether FYR Macedonia had made genuine steps towards reaching a deal with Greece over its name, whether it had improved relations with Bulgaria, and whether it had carried out enough internal reforms.
It noted progress in almost all EU-related areas, stating that FYR Macedonia had taken steps in relations with Greece and Bulgaria and that its EU reforms are now largely back on track after the country resolved the political crisis triggered by the dispute in parliament on December 24.
However, Fuele in April noted that there was still much to be done, mentioning the commission of inquiry, the signing of a memorandum of understanding between political parties on EU integrations as well as the resumption of dialogue with the countrys journalists who have complained about government foul play.
By Sinisa Jakov Marusic, BIRN, Skopje
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