Vienna, 9 June 2010 Press release

Spindelegger: “Macedonia must continue along its reform path to the EU”

Foreign Minister meets with his Macedonian counterpart Antonio Milososki

Vienna, 9 June 2010 – “Over recent months it has become clear that Macedonia is on the right course. It has been possible to complete important stages of the process of rapprochement with the EU, such as lifting EU visa requirements for Macedonian citizens,” declared Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger following his meeting with the Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki in Vienna. “Austria is, and remains, one of the most outspoken supporters of Macedonia’s integration into the EU. This will help to stabilise the region, which is undoubtedly beneficial to the Western Balkans and the entire EU, Austria included,” continued the Foreign Minister.

“Over recent months the Macedonian government, through rigorous effort, has made important progress on its reform path, thus deserving the European Commission’s recommendation for the commencement of accession negotiations in the near future,” affirmed Spindelegger, referring to reforms in the field of justice and the fact that all obligations of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement had now been met. The implementation of the Ohrid Agreement also helped to strengthen a multi-ethnic democracy. “Nevertheless, reform efforts must not lessen, in particular in fighting corruption and organised crime,” continued the Foreign Minister.

Macedonia’s naming dispute with Greece must not get in the way of its rapprochement with the EU: “Both sides – Greece and Macedonia – must show the necessary political will to find an amicable resolution of this quarrel. I hope that we shall soon see decisive progress in this area,” stated the Foreign Minister.

Austria is one of the largest investors in Macedonia. Some 50 enterprises currently active in the country have Austrian investments, while more than 20 companies are in 100% Austrian ownership. “Despite of the crisis, Austrian business continues to show undiminished interest in Macedonia and the country must do everything in its power to further strengthen the competitiveness of its economy,” concluded Spindelegger.

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